Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

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

The Greatest Gift of All

Bible Reading: John 3:16-21

Ethan dragged his heavy feet as he walked down the stairs on Christmas morning. He missed his dad. This was their first Christmas without him. Dad lived with his new family now, leaving Ethan and Mom to celebrate alone.

Mom was waiting for Ethan in the living room. Ethan smiled when he saw his stuffed stocking. "My stocking is full!"

Mom grinned. "Of course. It's Christmas!"

Ethan's heart lightened when he spied more gifts under the tree. "Can I open them?"

"Go for it!"

Ethan tore into the packages, thanking Mom for every new toothbrush and T-shirt. He ripped the wrapping paper off the biggest present last. "It's the skateboard I wanted! How did you know?"

"Moms just know these things." Mom winked.

Ethan gave her a big hug. Still, he felt like he was missing something. "Did Dad get me anything?"

Mom's smile faded. "Oh yeah."

She handed Ethan a white envelope. Ethan opened it carefully. Whatever Dad got him, Ethan wanted it to be special. He reached his hand in and pulled out a couple twenty dollar bills.

Tears filled Ethan's eyes. He'd hoped for something different. A note, maybe. News that Dad was coming home. Something to show Dad was thinking about him. "Money?"

"I know. He probably wasn't sure what else to get you." Mom held Ethan close. "But, Ethan, did you know there is a gift so much better than all of this? Even better than your skateboard?"

Ethan wiped his nose on the sleeve of his Christmas pajamas. "You mean Jesus?"

"Yes. Jesus. That's what this day is all about. God sending His Son to be with us and to die for us so that we can live forever with Him. I know those words might not help right now, but they're true."

Ethan sat up and looked Mom in the eye. How had he almost forgotten about the real meaning of Christmas, about the gift from God that was too wonderful to even explain?

"I love you, Mom. And I love God, and I'm so happy it's Christmas. No matter what Dad got me." And Ethan was telling the truth. God had given him the greatest gift of all.

-Becca Wierwille

How About You?
Have you ever been disappointed with a gift? When things don't turn out how we expect, we might feel upset. But no matter what happens, and no matter what's under the tree on Christmas morning, we have already received the greatest gift of all. God sent Jesus to die for us so we can live with Him forever. That gift is better than words can describe. This Christmas, thank God for giving you the greatest gift of all.

Today's Key Verse:
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (NKJV) (2 Corinthians 9:15 )

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus is our greatest gift

The Real Gift

Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

Emmy wriggled off her mother's lap and toddled toward the brightly wrapped presents under the Christmas tree. "Hold it, little girl!" Mom scooped her up and brought her back to the couch. "Grandpa's going to read us a story."

Grandpa began to read the familiar story of the birth of Jesus. Emmy's sister Joelle let her mind wander while he read about the angels and shepherds and the wise men bringing their gifts. Emmy's going to love the teddy bear Arlo and I bought for her! Joelle thought.

Grandpa finished reading, and Mom prayed, thanking God for the Savior who came to give eternal life to all who trust in Him. Then gifts were passed out.

"This one's for you, Emmy," said Joelle, putting the gift from her and Arlo on the floor in front of her little sister. "Open it." Emmy giggled, but she didn't seem to know what to do. She just patted the ribbons. "Here, like this," Joelle said as she pulled off a bow. Emmy grabbed the ribbon and put it in her mouth.

"At this rate it will take her all night," said Arlo. "I want to see what she thinks of the gift we got her." So he and Joelle began removing the wrapping paper.

"See the fluffy bear," said Joelle as she put the bear in Emmy's lap. Emmy looked at it for a moment, then flung it aside and reached for the wrappings. She laughed as she crinkled the colorful paper in her fingers and draped the ribbons over her head. Then she climbed into the empty box.

"We gave her a really nice gift, and she doesn't even want it!" said Arlo. "She'd rather play with the paper and ribbon."

"I can see that you kids are disappointed in Emmy's reaction to your gift," said Grandpa. "Do you think God ever feels that way at Christmas?"

Arlo and Joelle looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?" asked Joelle.

"Emmy got caught up with the wrappings instead of the gift you gave her, and we can get caught up in all the bright and shiny fun of Christmas like presents, shopping, and parties and ignore the real gift," Grandpa explained. "The gift of Jesus and the eternal life He offers us."

-Jan L. Hansen

How About You?
What does Christmas mean to you? Does it mean parties and good food? Does it mean shopping and presents? Or do you think about God coming to earth as a baby? Do you thank Him for coming to save you from your sins? Have you accepted the most wonderful gift of all--eternal life through Jesus? Don't ignore the real gift of Christmas. Trust in Jesus today! (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (NKJV) (1 John 5:11)

Today's Key Thought:
Accept God's gift--eternal life

The Christmas Play

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

Carly stood on stage with the other shepherds at the church's Christmas play. She scowled at Miss Lena, her Sunday school teacher in the front row.

Carly wanted to be Mary. She wanted to hold baby doll Jesus. Tessa, who had the role of Mary, wasn't even a good actress.

Then Carly had an idea. When the angel came to tell them the good news of Jesus's birth, the shepherds calmly followed the star toward the stable on the other side of the stage--except Carly, who sprinted ahead.

Tessa gasped. "Carly, what are you doing?"

"My name's not Carly!" Carly leaned toward Tessa's microphone. "My name is Mary, and you stole my baby. Give him back!"

Carly tried to grab baby doll Jesus. Tessa backed into the cardboard stable, which crashed to the ground. A few of the little sheep actors started crying.

Miss Lena ran onto the stage. "Consider this a brief intermission," she said to the church members. "Give us a minute to sort this out."

Carly's mom stepped onto the stage as well. "Carly, what were you thinking?"

Carly's stomach twisted with regret. "I…I don't know." She wanted to be the star. But instead, she'd ruined the play.

"Come sit with me for the rest of the play, Carly," Miss Lena said.

Carly hung her head. "Okay."

As Carly watched the rest of the play, she realized Tessa was a great Mary. The real Mary was humble and kind. She didn't think she was better than everyone else, like Carly just did.

On the ride home, Carly said, "I was only thinking about myself with what I did today."

Mom nodded. "You know, the Bible talks about putting others first. Jesus did that when He became human and died for our sins to save us. He did that for us because He loved us. And because we trust in Jesus, we can love others and live like Him. We can be joyful and content in whatever role we have."

"Even if it's the role of a shepherd or a sheep?" Carly asked, and her mom nodded. "I want to love others like Jesus," Carly said. "And I can start by telling Tessa and Miss Lena I'm sorry."

-Becca Wierwille

How About You?
Have you ever fought to be the center of attention? Do you sometimes think so much about yourself that you forget about the people around you? We all have times when we can be selfish. But Jesus saved us from sin so we could live with love and unity, and He will help us put others before ourselves. Humbling ourselves and thinking of others first is a great way to show the love of Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (NIV) (Philippians 2:3)

Today's Key Thought:
Put others first

Christmas Cookies

Bible Reading: Psalm 34:8; Proverbs 24:13-14

"Grab your backpack, Millie. It's time to go to Mimi and Pop's house," Mom called.

Millie grabbed her backpack and hurried downstairs. She loved spending the night at Mimi and Pop's house. Tonight they were going to bake Christmas cookies while Mom and Dad went Christmas shopping.

Millie loudly led Mom and Dad in singing Christmas carols all the way there, and when Dad pulled into the driveway, Millie was the first one out of the car. Mimi opened the door and Millie ran and gave her a big hug.

"Mind your manners," Mom said as she gave Millie a kiss on the forehead.

"I will."

"See you tomorrow afternoon," Dad called out.

After waving goodbye, Millie and Mimi went inside. "Come give me a hug," Pop called from the living room.

Millie ran and gave Pop a big hug, then dashed off to the kitchen. Mimi was already busy getting everything out that they would need to make the cookies. They were going to frost and decorate them too.

"Wash your hands and you can start mixing," Mimi told her.

After mixing the ingredients together, they shaped the dough into balls and flattened them on the cookie sheet. Once the cookies had cooled, they frosted and decorated them.

As they were each enjoying one of their cookie creations, Mimi said, "You know, Millie, frosting the cookies reminded me of a Bible verse that says, 'How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.' God's Word tastes sweet to our souls, just like frosting tastes sweet to our taste buds."

Millie bit into another cookie. "The Bible helps us taste God's goodness, right?"

Mimi nodded. "It shows us how good He is and contains His wisdom and truth. It tells us about Jesus and how He saves us from sin and is always with us. When we read the Bible and let it help us focus our minds on Jesus, we find the love, peace, and comfort that only He can give us." Mimi put the rest of the cookies in a container and closed it. "Now, let's head into the living room for devotions with Pop."

"It's time for some sweetness for the soul," Millie added with a smile.

-Lisa Fuller

How About You?
Do you like the sweet taste of frosting? The Bible tells us that just like honey is sweet to the taste, God's Word is sweet to the soul. It tells us about Jesus and what He did to save us, and it reminds us of who we are in Him. It has words of comfort and encouragement to help us remember God's goodness in tough times. Read what Jesus has to say to you in His Word, the Bible, and taste the sweetness of His love, peace, and joy.

Today's Key Verse:
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. (NLT) (Psalm 119:103)

Today's Key Thought:
God's Word is sweet