Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

The Best Place to Be

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:8-13

"You got an email," Abigail's mom told her. "Looks like it's from Ellie." Abigail, whose family were missionaries in Nigeria, eagerly took Mom's phone and opened the email.

"Yesterday Daphne and Ashlyn and I went to an amusement park," Abigail read in Ellie's email. "I wish you could have been with us! We went on a pirate ship ride and on an alpine slide." Abigail sighed. Going on rides with her friends sounded like fun!

"But the African safari river ride was the best one of all," the email continued. "It was so much fun! There were robotic elephants that sprayed water at us, and some mechanical monkeys were chattering in the trees. It seemed so real."

Abigail laughed out loud when she read that. Ellie should come visit me here, she thought. Then she could see real elephants and monkeys.

Just then Benji, Abigail's pet monkey, snuggled up to her. Benji loved being around Abigail and always followed her around the house. Abigail gave him a little squeeze. "You're better than a mechanical monkey," Abigail told him. "You're real."

Abigail thought about all her other pets. Freddy, a baby antelope, was a pretty brown color with a black stripe. And a mongoose named Rollo was a family favorite.

Abigail smiled as she remembered the time Rollo found a ping-pong ball on the floor. She apparently thought it was an egg--one of her favorite foods. She smacked it hard to break it, then jumped back in surprise when it bounced as high as her head.

Of course, Rollo sometimes annoyed them by chirping a lot. But she made up for it by eating cockroaches and other insects. And Abigail knew that when Rollo got bigger, she would also eat snakes!

Abigail grinned. Not many kids have pets like mine! she thought. And even though I really miss my friends back home, I have new friends at our church here, and I know God is helping our family tell the people here about Jesus. Even though it's hard sometimes, I know He brought us here and promises to be with us, so this is the best place for me to be.

"C'mon, Benji," she said. "Let's go find Rollo and take some pictures to send my friends back home."

–Charlie VanderMeer

How About You?
Do you sometimes wish you could be somewhere else? Or have you learned to be content in the place God has put you for now? In the Bible, the apostle Paul said the secret to being content in any situation is trusting Jesus, who promises to always be with us and help us because we belong to Him. Thank Him for the blessings He's given you and the people He's put in your life, and trust Him to help you be a testimony for Him right where you are.

Today's Key Verse:
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. (NKJV) (Philippians 4:11)

Today's Key Thought:
Be content

Footsteps in the Snow

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:1-5

"I don't see why Harper can't come Christmas shopping with us tomorrow," Sienna complained. "She always helps me find the best gifts."

"It's not a good idea for your sister to be in a mall right now, Sienna," said Mom. "She needs time to go through counseling and address why she feels the need to steal things."

Sienna sighed and put on her boots and coat. "I'm going to see if the ice is hard on the pond."

When she reached the pond, she tested the ice with her foot. It was firm at the edge, but when she cautiously moved forward, it cracked. No skating yet. So Sienna headed home, taking the back way.

When Sienna reached the house, Mom came out. "Ally was playing out here, but I don't see her anywhere," she said with a worried look.

"The pond!" said Sienna. "Maybe she followed me." She looked down and saw a tiny set of footsteps in the snow next to her bigger ones heading toward the pond. She dashed down the hill as fast as she could. As she approached the pond, she saw her little sister step out onto the ice. It held at the edge, and Ally took another step. "No, Ally!" yelled Sienna, and Ally stopped. When Sienna reached her, she took her hand and led her off the ice.

Mom met them at the top of the hill. "You know you're not allowed to go to the pond by yourself," she said as she hugged her little daughter.

"I thought Sienna was there," said Ally. "I was just following her."

Later that day, Sienna again begged her mom to let her older sister come to the mall with them, but Mom said no. "We need to be careful where our footsteps lead," said Mom. "Harper is struggling with an urge to shoplift, and she needs our support. She shouldn't be in an environment where she may be tempted to steal."

Sienna was quiet for a moment. "I wouldn't want to lead her into a situation where she'd be tempted," she said finally.

"I know," said Mom. "Sometimes we need to make sacrifices to help other Christians in their walk with Jesus, especially when they struggle with things we don't."

- Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Do you help other Christians who are struggling with sin? Are you careful where your footsteps might lead them? We all have different struggles in our lives, and even though you may not be tempted by certain things, the same might not be true for someone else. Trust Jesus to help you be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others so you can support and encourage them in their walk with Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (NLT) (Galatians 6:2 )

Today's Key Thought:
Help those who struggle

The Blank Page

Bible Reading: Romans 6:12-18, 22

"Hi, Mom," said Taden as he came into the house. "Want to see the picture I painted at school today?" He held out a paper with a scene of a lake and trees, with mountains in the background.

"This is really good!" exclaimed Mom. "You're a wonderful painter."

Taden beamed. "I think I'm going to be an artist when I grow up. I love to paint." He went to a drawer and took out a fresh piece of paper and some paints.

"I think that would be great." Mom pointed to the paper Taden had spread out on the kitchen table. "Have you ever looked at your blank paper and wondered what it will look like when you're done painting?"

"Of course. I always have something in mind when I start painting." Taden grinned at his mom. "But it doesn't always turn out the way I imagined it. Sometimes I do a good job, but other times I mess it up."

Mom nodded. "Our lives are like that blank paper, and our choices are like the brush that applies the colors to the page, making something beautiful--or a mess!"

"But the brush doesn't paint by itself," said Taden. "It's the artist who chooses the colors and paints the picture. Whether it turns out good or bad depends on the artist."

"That's right," said Mom. "In our life pictures, we can either make ourselves the artists and paint things our own way, or we can trust God to be the artist holding the brush and let Him guide us and shape our lives."

Taden looked at the blank page. "I never thought about my life like that," he said thoughtfully.

"When we trust Jesus and give Him control of our life picture, He promises to make it beautiful," said Mom. "That doesn't mean our lives will be easy or that we won't still sin and make mistakes--we'll sometimes try to take control of the brush and do things our own way. But when we do, Jesus forgives us and paints over our mistakes. He promises to help us make good choices and love others the way He does. He's the greatest Artist there is, and when we give Him control of our lives, He will make them into masterpieces."

- Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Who is painting the picture of your life? No matter how hard you try, you can't paint a good life picture on your own. Everyone has already messed up their picture with sin, but Jesus can paint over your mistakes and make your life beautiful. Trust Him as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Then let Him guide you as you live your life, knowing He'll make it into a masterpiece.

Today's Key Verse:
Give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. (NLT) (Romans 6:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Give God control of your life

Baby Food

Bible Reading: Hebrews 5:12-14

"Lindy, have you learned your Bible verse for Sunday school?" asked Mom.

"No, but I don't like Sunday school anymore," Lindy grumbled.

"Why not?" asked Mom, spooning cereal into Gracie's mouth.

"We don't sing fun songs with motions anymore, and Mrs. Mac doesn't read from her Bible storybook either," replied Lindy. "Now we have to read right from the Bible and memorize verses and--" She paused as Gracie made a gagging sound. "What's the matter, Gracie?" Lindy asked as she tapped a spoon on the high chair, trying to distract her baby sister.

"She's used to milk and juice, and she's just learning to handle solid foods," Mom explained. "Sometimes they're a little hard for her to swallow."

"Poor Gracie." Lindy turned to her mother. "Why not just let her have milk then?"

"Because she's not a tiny baby anymore. Gracie has to get used to eating solid food to grow big and healthy like you. She already likes it."

"Oh," said Lindy. She stroked her sister's cheek. "Eat up, Gracie. Get big soon so we can play together!"

Mom put the spoon back up to the baby's mouth. "It seems like you're having the same kind of trouble as Gracie," she said.

Lindy looked indignant. "I don't have a problem swallowing my food!"

"Not physical food," said Mom. "But what about spiritual food? Like newborn babies, new Christians need milk--spiritual milk. When you were younger, you could only understand simple things about God, and your attention span was short, so you just sang cute little songs and read simple Bible stories. But now you understand more and are ready for something more solid. Studying harder Bible lessons and verses helps you learn more about Jesus and His love for you so you can grow in your faith." Mom spooned some more cereal into Gracie's waiting mouth. "It can be hard to get used to at first, just like solid food makes Gracie gag sometimes. But she already likes her new cereal, and I know you'll soon like your new lessons too. Remember that God wants to use them to feed you spiritually and help you grow."

Lindy looked uncertain, but then she nodded. "Okay," she said. "I guess I'll go learn my verse."

- Tanya Ferdinandusz

How About You?
Are you having trouble with your spiritual diet? Do you think the Bible is too hard to understand or that church isn't as fun as it used to be? Easy, fun things aren't always the things that help you grow spiritually. Take learning about God seriously, and put the things you learn into practice. Trust Him to help you understand more and more about how much He loves you and what Jesus did to save you. Let Him feed you the truth of His Word so you can grow in your faith.

Today's Key Verse:
Don't think like children. In evil things be like babies, but in your thinking you should be like full-grown adults. (ERV) (1 Corinthians 14:20)

Today's Key Thought:
Grow in your spiritual understanding

Lost and Found

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12; Luke 15:3-10

Zach ran frantically down the stairs. "Has anyone seen Mr. Bunny?" he cried. "I can't find him anywhere!"

"I'm sure he's around here somewhere, Zach," said Mom. "Have you looked in your closet?"

"Yes," said Zach. "I've looked in my room and closet, and in Hailey's room too. I just don't know where he could be!"

"Try checking the living room, and Hailey and I will check the other rooms downstairs," Mom said. Zach sped off to the living room.

"But Mom," said Hailey, "Zach is getting too old to be worrying about a raggedy stuffed animal. It's embarrassing that he takes Mr. Bunny to school with him."

Mom bent to look under the kitchen table. "Remember, Hailey, that Zach finds comfort in having familiar things around him. He gets anxious about going to school, and just knowing that Mr. Bunny is in his backpack helps calm him down."

"I get it, Mom. I'll help look for Mr. Bunny." Hailey headed to the laundry room.

"I found him!" Hailey called a minute later. "He was hiding in the laundry basket under some of Zach's clothes."

"Oh, thank you!" cried Zach, and he gave Mr. Bunny a big hug.

Mom smiled. "I'm so glad we found Mr. Bunny. It's amazing how much joy we feel when we find something important to us that has been lost. Do you remember the stories of the lost sheep and lost coin in the Bible?"

"Yeah," said Hailey. "The shepherd looked all over for the lost sheep, and when he found him, he called all his friends and neighbors over for a party to celebrate! And the lady did the same thing when she found her lost coin."

"That's right," Mom said. "But the most important part of those stories is that they illustrate how much joy there is in heaven when someone comes to trust in Jesus. And just like Zach didn't give up looking for Mr. Bunny, God will never give up on us. Jesus came to earth to rescue us when we were lost in sin, and when we are found, God rejoices over us."

"I'm so happy about that," said Zach. "And I'm so happy I found Mr. Bunny!"

- Lori Haynie

How About You?
Have you ever lost something very special to you? How did you feel when you lost it? Did you keep searching and searching until you found it? Remember that you are very special to God. He loves you and sent His Son, Jesus, to save you from being lost. No matter what you've done, He wants you to come to Him. He is seeking you. Trust in Jesus so you can be found. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
For the Son of Man [Jesus] came to seek and save those who are lost. (NLT) (Luke 19:10)

Today's Key Thought:
God seeks and rejoices over us