Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Jesus Is the Reason

Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:2; John 1:4, 9-10; 2 Corinthians 4:6

Josiah stared out the car window as his dad drove slowly past the lit-up homes. The lights seemed extra bright this Christmas. There were red, white, green, and blue lights strung along roof lines and door frames, wrapped around porch columns, and draped across tree branches. Inflatable Santas, snowmen, and reindeer stood on front lawns, some of them taller than his dad.

When they turned the corner, Josiah noticed that one of the houses only had a single light. A spotlight sat on the grass, illuminating a large sign with words written in red.

"Jesus is the reason for the season," Josiah read. "What does that mean?"

"I know," said Tiana, his older sister. "It means that Jesus is more important than all the other stuff we focus on at Christmas--like presents, cookies, decorations, or getting two weeks off from school, my personal favorite."

Mom turned around in her seat. "That's right, Tiana. It's good to celebrate the holiday with all those things, but we need to remember that it's Jesus we're celebrating. It can be easy to get caught up with the glitter and busyness of the holiday and forget to gaze at the one true light that came to earth in the form of a tiny baby--Jesus!"

Josiah was confused. "How can a baby be a light?"

"Jesus is the light of the world," Dad told Josiah. "He is God, but He became human so He could save us and be with us. Everyone who trusts in Him will always have His light shining in their hearts."

"I don't like the dark," said Josiah. "I need a night-light."

Dad chuckled. "We all get frightened at times, especially when we can't see what is around us or what might hurt us. We stumble in the darkness, just like we did when the power went out last week."

"I stubbed my toe looking for a flashlight," said Tiana.

"It was scary," said Josiah.

"But when we have the light of Jesus in our hearts, we're no longer in spiritual darkness. He's always with us and shows us the right way to go." Mom smiled. "I have an idea. These Christmas lights are beautiful, but they'll be turned off soon. Let's go home and read about the birth of Jesus, our everlasting light!"

-Bonnie Carr

How About You?
When December arrives, do you look forward to new toys, gingerbread cookies, holiday music, and colorful decorations? Those are all fun things to enjoy during the Christmas season, but don't forget that Jesus is the reason we celebrate. After all the presents have been opened and the lights and decorations have been put away, His light continues to shine in the hearts of those who trust in Him. Make this Christmas season bright by celebrating Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
[Jesus] said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV) (John 8:12)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus is our light

If Antiques Could Talk

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:22-25

"Here we are," said Mom as she pulled the car into a parking space at an antique store. "There are lots of breakable things here, so be careful, okay?"

"I'll be careful," Jane said as they went in. "I love to visit antique stores and see all the old stuff. Old things are way more interesting than new ones. I always wonder what kind of lives they had."

Mom laughed. "It would be interesting to know who owned these things. Were they rich or poor, young or old? Too bad these old things can't talk and tell us their stories." She pointed to a platter. "Wouldn't that be pretty on the shelf in the dining room?"

"Mom, can we get it?" Jane asked eagerly.

They checked the price, and Mom agreed to buy it. After paying the shopkeeper, they took the platter home, and Jane proudly showed it to Dad.

"Mom, do we always have to leave it on the shelf?" Jane asked. "Can't we use it sometimes?"

"Well, I guess we can use it now and then," Mom said. "But not every day. It's very old, you know, and I don't want it to get broken or chipped."

"Here's a riddle," said Dad. "What very, very old thing do we have that we can use all we want and it will still last forever, and it talks to us?"

"Mom and I wished antiques could talk!" exclaimed Jane. "Do we really have one that does?" She thought about it. "Is it an old radio? Or an old vinyl record?" But she shook her head. "No. Those wouldn't last forever."

"Look here." Dad opened his Bible to the book of First Peter and read, "The word of the Lord endures forever." Dad turned to Jane and smiled. "And God wants us to listen to what it says over and over, again and again. He wants us to use it to focus our minds on Jesus and remember His promises."

"But, Dad, Bibles wear out! Yours is just about worn out already. You could use a new one!"

"Yes, but God's Word isn't the paper and binding and glue that make up this book," Dad said. "It's what's written in it, and that will last forever!"

-Dean Kelley

How About You?
Do you let God's Word talk to you day after day? Or is your Bible not being used? It has a lot to say to you. It tells the story of Jesus and what He did to save you. It reminds you of God's love for you and His promise to make all things right one day. Listen to what the Bible says by reading it and taking its truth to heart. The pages and binding may wear out with use, but God's message will always remain. You can never wear out God's Word.

Today's Key Verse:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (NKJV) (Mark 13:31)

Today's Key Thought:
Listen to God's Word

Love at All Times

Bible Reading: John 15:12; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Galatians 6:2

Zoe walked into her classroom, nervous for her test. As she sat down, she noticed her friend Claire had red, puffy eyes and tear streaks running down her face. Had she been crying?

After the test, Claire darted up to Mr. Tyson, the teacher, and spoke with him for a few moments. He nodded, and Claire walked stiffly out of the room.

Zoe approached the teacher and asked, "Mr. Tyson, what's wrong with Claire?" He only shook his head and told her to sit at her desk again.

Zoe finally caught up with Claire during lunch. She looked a little better than that morning, but she was clearly in the middle of a very bad day.

"Claire, what's going on with you today? I was so worried when you ran out of the classroom."

"I don't know if I should talk about it," Claire replied, "but last night my parents told me that we're losing our house! My dad hasn't been able to find a new job, and Mom's job doesn't pay enough to let us stay. They said we'll have to move into an apartment until we can find something we can afford."

"Claire, I'm so sorry to hear that! I can't believe you have to move. You've lived in your house your whole life, right?" Zoe was shocked.

"Yeah, and now I don't know if we'll ever get another house, or if my dad will ever find a good job. There's so much going on, and I'm scared," Claire said with a trembling voice.

Zoe hesitated. Claire and her family weren't Christians, but Zoe wanted her friend to know she would do whatever she could to help. "Well, I don't know about helping your dad find a new job, but I know I can pray for you," Zoe said.

Claire looked up at her. "Can you pray for me right now? And my family too?"

Zoe grinned. "Of course!"

After praying, the girls ate their lunches and returned to their classroom. God, I don't know how You'll use Claire's situation to show her Your love, Zoe prayed silently, but thank You for letting me help and be with her through it.

-Nicole Kraayenbrink

How About You?
Are any of your friends going through a hard time? Maybe a friend's family is dealing with a financial struggle, or a friend is in the hospital, or one of them is going through a different hard time in their life. What can you do to show God's love to them? Often just talking and praying with them makes a big impact. Talk to Jesus about it, and trust Him to help you comfort your hurting friend and show them His love.

Today's Key Verse:
A friend loves at all times. (NKJV) (Proverbs 17:17)

Today's Key Thought:
Care for friends in any situation

Off with the Old, On with the New

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:1, 17-24; Philippians 1:6

"Are you kidding me?" Though their artificial Christmas tree hid Lindsay from view, it did little to hide her irritation.

Lindsay's younger brother Tony moseyed over to inspect the commotion. He saw suspicious piles of papery dark green needles, and--"Hey! What are you doing?" Tony demanded.

"What does it look like I'm doing!" Lindsay waved wire cutters.

"Like you're hacking our Christmas tree to death!" Tony glared.

Lindsay calmly followed Tony's gaze to the piles of severed light strands. "I'm removing the dead lights so I can put new ones on."

Tony relaxed. "Then why are you upset?"

"Because this tree came pre-lit once upon a time ago, so not only are the light strands twisted around every single branch, they're also clipped on and zip-tied! Every confounded clip is tedious to remove," Lindsay growled as she struggled with another.

"Just put the new lights on top of the dead ones," Tony suggested.

Lindsay sighed and took a break. "That's actually what we did at first. But those lights are dying too. So I'm doing what I should have done to begin with."

Tony shrugged. He wouldn't bother with such painstaking work.

A key turning the lock announced that Devon, their oldest brother, was home. "What's all this?" Devon asked on his way to the kitchen.

"Hello to you too," Lindsay huffed. "You tell him," she muttered at Tony. She disappeared behind the tree again.

"She's taking off the dead stuff and putting new lights on," Tony answered from the couch. "But it's taking a while."

"Sounds about right," Devon said. "That's a sermon right there--take off the old self and put on the new."

Tony scrunched up his face. "Huh?"

"The old self means the sinful lives we had before Jesus saved us, and the new self is who Jesus transforms us to be." Devon joined Lindsay to help. "It's like our tree. You aren't throwing it away--it's perfectly good--just the lights are dead. Jesus makes us perfectly good too. But it's a process hacking off our dead, sinful attitudes and actions so we can shine brighter with His love."

Tony shifted uneasily where he was sprawled. "I guess I see what you mean," he said, getting off the couch. "I'll help too."

-Pearl Allard

How About You?
Does taking off the old habits and attitudes of sin feel tedious or discouraging? Jesus's grace enables us to stop sinning and start serving Him. But sometimes it's hard. The next time you get discouraged, celebrate the work God has already done in you and remember He is the One at work inside you, helping you remove dead sins and put on new, loving attitudes.

Today's Key Verse:
Take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires…put on the new self, the one created according to God's likeness in righteousness. (CSB) (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Today's Key Thought:
Take off sin, put on love

Loose Lips

Bible Reading: Romans 10:13-15; Hebrews 13:15

"Grandma, can we explore in the attic?" asked Kenzie. Once before when the twins were visiting their grandparents, Grandma had taken them up to the attic to show them some old photographs.

"Sure," Grandma replied. "But be sure to put everything back in its place."

Xander and Kenzie had a good time looking through the old trunks in the attic. Kenzie giggled as she held up a long black dress that was covered with tucks and ruffles. "Aren't these old clothes funny?"

"Yeah," said Xander as he tried on one of Grandpa's old hats. He opened another trunk. "Hey, look! This trunk is full of army stuff! Grandpa's dad was in the army, so these must be his things. There's a uniform, pictures of soldiers…even some medals!" He held up a poster with a picture of a sinking ship. Printed on the dark background were the words Loose Lips Sink Ships. "I wonder what this means," said Xander.

"Let's go ask Grandpa," said Kenzie.

They climbed down the narrow stairs, clutching the old poster. When they asked Grandpa about it, his face grew serious. "I remember my dad telling me about that," he said. "During World War Two, people who talked a lot and were careless about what they said were described as having 'loose lips.' These signs were posted in areas where military secrets were discussed. They were a reminder that it could be disastrous to talk about secret plans or about the location of our troops and ships. If enemy spies were to discover such things because someone talked carelessly, it might have meant death to hundreds of sailors or soldiers."

"Wow!" exclaimed Xander. "Just think! Hundreds of lives could be lost if you said a few words to the wrong person!"

Grandpa held up the old poster and thoughtfully gazed at it. "You know, loose lips aren't always bad. In fact, sometimes we need to loosen up our lips in order to save lives."

"What do you mean?" asked Kenzie in surprise.

"God has entrusted a very special message to us--that Jesus died for the sins of everyone and then rose from the dead," Grandpa explained. "It's not a secret, and we should share it. When people hear it and believe in Jesus, they're saved and given eternal life."

-Sherry L. Kuyt

How About You?
How loose are your lips when it comes to telling others about Jesus? Do you talk about what He's done for you? Or are you tight-lipped when it comes to sharing the news that Jesus died and rose again to save us? The Bible says that people have to hear that good news before they can believe. Don't be afraid to talk about Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips. (NIV) (Psalm 40:9)

Today's Key Thought:
Talk to others about Jesus