Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Better Than the Coast Guard

Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11

"That was cool!" Jude said when he returned home after his class had toured a Coast Guard ship at the sea festival held in their coastal city.

"Did you learn what the Coast Guard does?" Dad asked.

"This pamphlet says they fight smuggling, protect ships and ports, and rescue victims of sea disasters," Jude replied. "They pick up survivors when a plane crashes in the ocean too. Our guide said they saved at least six thousand lives last year! Storms sometimes come up fast, and people can't make it back to shore. Other times boaters just don't pay attention to the warnings. But the reason people are in trouble doesn't matter to the Coast Guard. I bet they save more lives each year than anybody!"

"They're well trained and do save a lot of lives," said Dad. "In times of war, the Coast Guard becomes a part of the Navy. Do you know the Coast Guard's motto?"

Jude nodded. "Yep. Our guide told us. 'Semper Paratus'--'Always Ready.'"

"The Coast Guard does a good job," said Mom. "But I can think of somebody who saves even more lives than the people in the Coast Guard do."

Jude looked surprised. "You can? Who?"

"I think I know," said Dad. "I think Mom means Jesus. He's willing to save anyone who will trust in Him."

Mom nodded. "Can you imagine that anyone struggling in the water would refuse help from the Coast Guard? I know I wouldn't! I would gladly accept help if the Coast Guard ever came to rescue me. But all of us need to be rescued from sin, yet many people refuse to accept the help Jesus offers. But no matter how much we keep trying to save ourselves, we never can."

"People might try to save themselves by doing good things, right?" asked Jude. "Like by going to church and giving money and being good. Stuff like that?"

Dad nodded. "But trying to save ourselves by doing good things won't work--it's like trying to rescue yourself when you're drowning. Trusting in Jesus is the only way we can be saved."

Jude smiled. "I'm so glad He came to rescue us."

-Linda L. Leonard

How About You?
Did you know Jesus came to earth to rescue you from sin? You can't save yourself. Perhaps you go to church, obey your parents, study hard at school, and give money to the poor. None of these things--good as they are--will save you. Jesus died and rose again so you could be forgiven for the wrong things you've done. Don't refuse His offer of salvation. Trust Him to save you. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
The Son of Man [Jesus] has come to seek and to save the lost. (CSB) (Luke 19:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Let Jesus save you

Tell Jesus About It

Bible Reading: Psalm 56:1-13; Matthew 6:9-13

Zyan looked in awe at the newborn baby asleep in his arms. Zyan and his mom were visiting Aunt Sarah in the hospital because she had just had a baby.

"You're so tiny, Baby Charlie," Zyan said softly. Aunt Sarah smiled.

Just then, Charlie began to cry.

"Umm." Zyan shifted nervously, unsure what to do.

Aunt Sarah swooped in, scooping Charlie into her arms. "Oh, little one," she said, holding the baby close. "Tell Mama about it!" Charlie soon stopped crying, comforted by Aunt Sarah's closeness.

On the drive home, Zyan's mom spoke. "You know, Zyan, something Aunt Sarah said to Charlie today reminded me of Jesus."

"What was that?" asked Zyan.

"Well, Charlie needed his mom, so he cried out for her. Aunt Sarah came right over and was with him through his tears. Do you remember what Aunt Sarah said when she picked Charlie up?"

"Yeah," said Zyan. "She said, 'Tell Mama about it.'"

"Exactly," said Mom. "And Jesus does something similar with us. He promises to be with us--even in our most tearful moments. He tells us to tell Him how we're feeling and what we need. He is the One who will meet our needs, and His presence is what we need most."

"So Jesus is with me even when I don't remember He's there?" asked Zyan.

"Absolutely!" said Mom. "Just like Aunt Sarah was there for Charlie and comforted him by holding him close, Jesus is always with us. No emotion we experience is too big for Him. In fact, in the Bible we find all kinds of people who loved God and talked with Him about their deepest hurts, questions, and feelings. I'm really glad that God shows us in His Word that we can find comfort with Him, even in our hardest moments."

"Me too," said Zyan.

"And there's more good news to remember," Mom said. "Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, He promises He will one day make all things free from sin and free from tears! As Christians, we can know that He is with us now and forever, no matter what we face."

-Kandi Zeller

How About You?
Did you know that you can talk with Jesus, no matter what's going on in your life or how big your feelings are? God loves His children, so we can talk with Him about anything we're facing. As Christians, we can know that God is always with us and cares about what we're going through. Talk with Jesus about what you're feeling today!

Today's Key Verse:
[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (NKJV) (1 Peter 5:7)

Today's Key Thought:
Share your feelings with Jesus

Wrong Way

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 10:13-15

"We've been talking about evangelism in my class at church," Rae told her mom as they were relaxing in lounge chairs next to the hotel pool. "Evangelism is a church word that means telling others about Jesus. Our teacher has been telling us stories about missionaries in other countries and how we can tell people about Jesus too, no matter where we are." Rae sighed. "It's making me think a lot about Evelyn and Lucia. I don't think either of them knows Jesus."

"Do you talk to your friends about Jesus?" asked Mom.

"Well…not really," Rae replied. "But I pray for them all the time."

"Prayer is important," Mom said. "But we also need to share the good news of Jesus with others. They need to know He loves them so much He died for their sins."

The next day, as they exited the freeway and turned onto a small country road, Dad slowed down the car. "What's going on here?" he asked as a man ran toward them, waving his arms. Dad rolled down the window to speak with him.

"Can't go this way," the man said. "River's flooded two miles down, and part of the road is completely underwater. It doesn't look that deep, but a couple cars tried going through and their engines got flooded."

"Okay, thank you!" said Dad.

After they got back on the freeway and pulled up a new route on Dad's phone, Mom spoke up. "I'm sure glad that man ran over to tell us the road was flooded, aren't you?"

Rae nodded. "If he hadn't done that, we would have kept going that way."

"Right," said Mom. "We may have even tried to drive through the water and gotten our engine flooded. That would have ruined our whole trip!" Mom shook her head. "It made me think of Evelyn and Lucia. Just like we needed that man to tell us not to go the way we were going, your friends need someone to tell them they're going the wrong way. Pray for them, but also talk to them about Jesus and what He's done for you. They need to know He's the only way to be saved and have eternal life."

-Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Are you afraid to share the good news of Jesus with your friends? It's important to pray for other kids, but unless someone tells them about Jesus, how will they know they need Him? Perhaps God wants you to be that person. Let them know Jesus loves them, and be open about what He's done in your life. Ask God to give you opportunities to point your friends to Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (NKJV) (Romans 10:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Tell others about Jesus

Jillian’s Ruined Rose

Bible Reading: John 15:10-14

Jillian knew she needed to hurry--her grandmother would be waiting. Nana picked her up after school, and Jillian spent the afternoons at Nana's house, reading and playing with Nana's cat. After work, Jillian's mother came to take her home.

Today Jillian worried about making Nana wait but decided it was worth it. Nana deserves a Valentine's Day gift, Jillian thought. That's why she had removed coins from her piggy bank earlier in the week--to order an elegant red rose for Nana. The student council at Jillian's school organized the rose sale, and Jillian couldn't wait to pick it up on Valentine's Day and give it to her grandmother. Now, on her way to Nana's car with the rose in her hand, Jillian walked slowly and carefully to protect the flower.

Thinking of Nana waiting for her in the car, Jillian walked faster, skipping a few steps. Nana's going to be so surprised! But then she stumbled and fell to the floor, dropping the rose. She struggled to her feet, rubbed her aching knee, and gasped. The delicate bloom had been crushed in Jillian's fall.

Jillian retrieved the flower and trudged gloomily to the car.

"Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie!" Nana sang out.

"Not so happy." Jillian held out the ruined rose. "I bought this because I wanted to give it to you as a Valentine's Day gift, Nana, but I tripped and fell on it."

"It's lovely!" Nana answered, taking the flower gently into her hands.

"What? It's terrible!" Jillian exclaimed.

"It's a gift of love," Nana replied. "You gave something up in order to give it to me. That reminds me of the greatest gift of love I know about."

"What do you mean, Nana?"

"Jesus showed us what love is all about when He gave His life for us. And when we trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, He pours His Spirit of love into our hearts."

"That's a lot better than a rose," Jillian mused.

"Jesus's death for us declares, 'I love you.' And you gave me the rose to say, 'I love you.' When we know Jesus as our Savior, we can share His love with others." Nana smiled. "Just as you did for me today."

-Allison Wilson Lee

How About You?
Do you ever wonder if you're able to show God's amazing love? When we begin a relationship with God by putting our faith in Jesus, His Spirit comes to live in our hearts. In His strength, we can share His love with others. Our love is imperfect, but God's love never fails. Even our messy efforts to show love can point others to the love of Jesus!

Today's Key Verse:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (NIV) (1 John 3:16)

Today's Key Thought:
We can share God's love

Homemade Valentines

Bible Reading: Psalm 139:14-18

"Mom, you should see the new kid in our class at school," said Phoebe as she pushed construction paper aside to sit at the table. "He just moved here, and he's weird!"

Mom frowned. "That's not a nice thing to say, Phoebe."

"But he is!" Phoebe insisted. "He dresses funny--none of his clothes ever match. And he's so into math it's scary. He missed half of morning recess today because he was asking Mr. Potter a bunch of questions about math stuff we're not even studying. Who would choose math over recess?" Phoebe snorted at the thought.

Mom sighed and reached for a stack of cards. "What do you think of my cards so far?" she asked as she spread them out.

"Oh, they're gorgeous!" Phoebe said as she picked up a card with a red felt heart on the front. She opened it. To Tommy, it said. Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Mrs. Schaefer. Phoebe smiled. "Your first graders are going to love them!"

"I don't know," said Mom. "I didn't have enough material to make them all the same, so some have felt hearts and others have ribbons and others have glitter on the front. I think I'd better throw these out and just pick up a box of identical valentines at the store before school tomorrow to hand out."

"What? No!" cried Phoebe. "Your cards are so much better than store-bought ones! You put lots of love and effort into making them."

"But you don't seem to think the same thing when it comes to people," Mom observed.

"Huh?" said Phoebe.

"You seem to think that everyone should think and act the same way. But God created all kinds of people, with different interests and personalities, and He loves us all so much that Jesus died for us. But instead of trying to get to know the new boy in your class, you just make fun of him. You seem to prefer store-bought people to the unique ones God poured lots of love and effort into."

Phoebe stared at the table, twirling a piece of pink ribbon around her thumb.

"Where did you say this boy moved here from?" asked Mom.

"I don't know," Phoebe said quietly. Then a smile spread across her face. "But tomorrow I'm going to find out!"

-Daniel A. Burns

How About You?
Do you have trouble accepting people who are different from you? Every person was created in the image of God, and He loves us all. The next time you come across someone who's different, remember that Jesus loves them. Then try to get to know them. You just might learn something new--and make a new friend too!

Today's Key Verse:
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (NKJV) (Psalm 139:14)

Today's Key Thought:
Accept everyone