Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

A Special Place

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:145-149

"Where are you guys going for lunch today?" asked Alma. Her sister Carmen's fiancé had arrived, and they were ready to leave.

"We're going to that little restaurant called Your Special Spot," Joshua replied. "Only we call it Our Special Spot."

"You go there a lot, don't you?" asked Alma. "Why do you always go there?"

"We don't always go there, but it is our favorite place," said Carmen. "It's cozy and quiet--a good place to talk."

"We went there on our first date," Joshua said, squeezing Carmen's hand.

"And that's where Joshua proposed to me," added Carmen. "We love spending time together in our special place."

After they left, Alma wandered into the living room. "Carmen and Joshua spend a lot of time together," she murmured to herself. "I guess that must be because they love each other."

As she thought about it, Alma remembered the sermon she had heard at church earlier that week. "Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us," Pastor Grant had said. "When we set aside time to talk with Him and listen to what He says to us in the Bible, it helps our relationship with Him deepen and grow." Alma was trying to do that, but sometimes it was hard to find a place where she could be alone. She shared a room with her younger sister, Leah, and often when she thought about having devotions, Leah was in the room. I know! Alma thought. I need a special place to talk to Jesus, just like Carmen and Joshua have a special place to talk to each other. Where could it be? She decided to ask her mom.

"That's a great idea!" Mom said after Alma explained what she wanted. "Let's see…I think we could arrange a corner in the basement. You can use that comfortable chair and the little table."

"I'll keep my Bible and journal on that shelf under the window," Alma added.

"You could make a 'Do not disturb' sign for the basement door," Mom suggested. "That way, the rest of the family will know not to bother you."

Alma grew more enthusiastic as she arranged her special place for her time with the Lord.

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Is it hard to find privacy when you want to spend time with the Lord? Jesus experienced that too when He was on earth, so He got up early and went to a quiet spot to pray. If possible, arrange for a special place to meet with Him each day. It can be your own room, a quiet corner in your house or apartment, or even somewhere outside. Find a quiet place to spend time with Jesus, and then meet Him there regularly.

Today's Key Verse:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (NIV) (Mark 1:35)

Today's Key Thought:
Take time to meet with Jesus

Spice in Your Life

Bible Reading: Romans 8:28-32

Alyssa piled her taco shell with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and her father's special taco sauce. "This is great, Dad!" she exclaimed between bites. "You should be on one of those master chef shows on TV."

Dad laughed. "I'm glad you like it, Alyssa, but I'm no master chef."

Alyssa looked at her taco. "There's something in your sauce that makes it special and different. Can you tell me what it is--or is it a secret recipe?"

Dad laughed again. "It's no secret. I think cumin gives Mexican-style foods their unique flavor, so I double the amount of ground cumin in my sauce recipe. I also add a little sweet red pepper. I can show you how to make the sauce the next time we need some."

A few days later, Alyssa noticed the bottle of ground cumin on the spice rack in the cupboard. She opened it, and the smell reminded her of her dad's delicious tacos. Mmmm, she thought. That smells so good! She shook a little of the powder into her hand and licked it. "Oh, yuck!" she said, nearly choking. She ran to the sink, spitting and sputtering, and rinsed her mouth with water.

Alyssa found her dad and told him what happened. "Why does that spice taste so bad? It sure made the taco sauce good."

"Good taco sauce is more than just one ingredient," said Dad. "A master chef, or even an ordinary one like me, blends the right ingredients in the right amounts so that it makes something that tastes good." He smiled. "You know, Alyssa, life is a little like taco sauce."

"Like taco sauce!" exclaimed Alyssa. "How is it like that?"

"We often wish our lives could be easy and fun with none of the hard stuff," Dad explained. "But God allows difficult things into our lives so we can grow in our relationship with Jesus and be more like Him. We usually just see difficulties as bad things--like how you'd think cumin tasted bad if you hadn't first tasted it in my taco sauce. But God doesn't see those difficulties the same way we do. He uses them to flavor our lives with the love and grace of Jesus."

Alyssa smiled. "Just like a master chef."

-Catherine Runyon

How About You?
Did you know God is a master chef? He has a recipe--a plan--for your life. There are many kinds of spices--hot, sweet, bitter, and fragrant--that lend their special touch to foods. Today's Bible passage and Key Verse remind us that God allows us to go through many kinds of experiences to make our lives beautiful. He uses the difficulties we face to help us learn to trust Jesus and grow to be more like Him. Trust Him to be with you in hard times and to use those experiences for good.

Today's Key Verse:
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV) (Romans 8:28)

Today's Key Thought:
God has a purpose for everything

Wasting Time

Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:15-17

"Hey, Abe, have you played Command Central Two?" Carlos asked as they walked into their classroom at church. "It's way harder than the first one."

Abe shook his head. "Nah, I haven't tried it. After Pastor Cal's lesson last week, I thought maybe I should give up video games." The kids standing nearby stopped talking and stared at Abe in astonishment. Abe looked at Pastor Cal. "You said the Bible tells us to use our time well and not to waste it."

"Does that mean I shouldn't watch sports anymore?" asked Sam.

"Or play games on my tablet?" asked Daphne.

Pastor Cal smiled. "I'm glad God is using the message I shared to help you all think about how you spend your time. But do you think God wants you to give up those things completely?"

The kids looked at each other uncertainly. "Maybe," said one of them. "Doesn't He?"

"Not necessarily," said Pastor Cal. "In fact, doing things like playing games or watching TV can help us rest and spend time with others, both of which are very important. But we need to be wise about how we do those activities. Let me put it this way. My doctor wants me to be more careful about what I eat because my stomach can't handle some of the spicy stuff I like. But my doctor didn't say I should give up food completely. I can even eat some spicy food, but I need to use good judgment on what I'll eat and what I won't. And we should all use good judgment on what activities we'll do and how much time we'll spend doing them. If an activity is bad, stop doing it. If it's not wrong, be self-controlled and careful about how much you do it. Remember that the Lord has given us the time we have so we can learn and grow as we enjoy His blessings and build our relationships with Him and others. Trust Him to help you make wise choices about how you spend your time."

All the kids were quiet for a moment. Then Carlos announced, "I'm willing to give up math completely!"

Everyone laughed. "Good for you," said Pastor Cal. "But I doubt your teacher and parents will be quite as enthusiastic as you are about that idea!"

-Mike Dize

How About You?
Are you wise about how you spend your time? Do you make sure important things like spending time with Jesus and helping out at home fit into your schedule? God doesn't want you to give up all the fun things you like to do--He wants you to enjoy those things! But if something is wrong, or if the time you spend on it is doing more harm than good, it's time to stop.* Use the time God has given you wisely. *If you have trouble stopping an activity, tell a trusted adult so they can help.

Today's Key Verse:
Make the best use of your time. These are sinful days. (NLV) (Ephesians 5:16)

Today's Key Thought:
Use time wisely

A New Family

Bible Reading: Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 5:22-32

Mara sat with her little brother Dax in their family's living room, setting up the board game they had received for Christmas. As they were setting up the game pieces, their older sister Abigail and her husband, Daniel, came in.

"Hey, can we play?" Daniel asked, tousling Mara's hair.

"Sure!" said Mara. She and Dax scooted over to make room for them. Just as they were ready to start the game, Abigail's phone rang.

"Oh," Abigail said, looking at Daniel. "It's your mom."

"She probably wants to thank you for the plates you sent her. I told you she'd love those," Daniel said.

Abigail smiled and stepped out. On her way out, Mara heard Abigail answer the phone saying, "Hi, Mom."

Mara scrunched her face in confusion. Abigail was talking to Daniel's mom, not theirs. "Why did Abigail call your mom 'Mom'?" she asked Daniel.

"Well, Abigail's part of my family now too," Daniel replied. "When Abigail and I got married, she joined my family and my parents now see her as one of their children. They told her she could call them Mom and Dad so she knew she was welcome in the family."

Mara nodded as she thought about what he said. "That sounds like something I learned at church. In Sunday school we learned that the Bible says we're all adopted as God's children when we trust in Jesus, and there's another passage in the Bible that compares a married couple to Jesus and the church. Our teacher said that Jesus brings us into God's family, and that makes us God's children too."

"Exactly," Daniel replied with a smile. "When the Bible refers to the church as the bride of Christ, it's talking about all people who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God--our Savior who died and rose again to save us from our sins. When Jesus saved us, He brought us into God's family and we received the Holy Spirit, making us God's children."

Just then, Abigail walked back in. "You guys ready to play?"

Everyone nodded, and Dax picked up the dice and rolled a six. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "I go first!"

They all laughed, and as Mara looked around at everyone, she said a silent prayer thanking Jesus for bringing her into God's family.

-Raven Hunter

How About You?
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you been adopted into God's family and become one of His children? God wants you to be His child; that's why He sent Jesus to die for you. When we trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit welcomes us into God's family. If you haven't trusted in Jesus, trust in Him today and He will make you one of God's children. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
The Spirit that we have makes us God's chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, "Abba, Father." (ERV) (Romans 8:15)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus makes us God's children

An Unchanging Standard

Bible Reading: James 1:17-25

As Mason scooped up a large spoonful of cookie dough, his mom chuckled. "Hold on, Mason! We're making cookies, not frisbees. Here, let me make a model for you." Mom scooped up some dough and made it into a small round ball. "There! We'll put the cookies in the oven after I get Brinley out of her crib."

When Mom returned, she looked at the cookies. Some were small and others were too large. "I tried, Mom," said Mason, "but they wouldn't come out right."

"Did you compare each scoop of dough with the one I made?" asked Mom.

"Well, I did for a while, but then I just compared each scoop to the one I made before it. If it looked too small, I made the next one bigger. If it was too big, I'd make the next one smaller."

"But your standard changed for each cookie," said Mom. "No wonder they're all different sizes." She added a little dough to some cookies and took a little away from others to make them more the same size. "Mason, remember our conversation yesterday about Christians following a different standard than the world does?"

"Yeah. You said that just because everyone else seems to be doing something or says it's okay doesn't make it right."

"Exactly. Today, instead of comparing your cookies to the model I made, you compared them to various ones you made, and they weren't all the same size. We need to be careful not to make the same mistake in life and compare our actions to what other people say and do, because they don't all live by the same standard. We need to compare ourselves to the unchanging standard God has given us."

"That's the Bible, right?" said Mason. "It tells us how we should live as Christians."

"Right," Mom said. "The Bible gives us the standard, and Jesus is the model. Because we trust in Him, He's freed us from sin and has given us the Holy Spirit, who shapes us to be more like Him--just like I shaped your scoops of dough to look more like mine." Mom put the sheet of cookies into the oven. "Jesus sets the standard of how we should live as Christians, and He's the example we should compare ourselves to, not other people."

-Catherine Runyon

How About You?
What standard do you use to determine how you should live? Many things will change in your life, but the standard God gives us in His Word never changes. Because our sin makes us fall short of God's perfect standard, Jesus met that standard for us. If you trust in Him, He has freed you from sin's power and given you the Holy Spirit so you can follow His example. God is always the same, and His standard never changes. Model your life after Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
I am the Lord, I do not change. (NKJV) (Malachi 3:6)

Today's Key Thought:
God doesn't change