Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


No Good Deed Bandages

Bible Reading: Psalm 32:1-5

Gideon was busily sweeping the garage when his dad pulled into the driveway. "Hi, Gideon," Dad said. "What's going on?"

"TJ has chickenpox," Gideon announced, putting the broom away.

"And you?" Dad arched his eyebrows. He knew that when Gideon did work without being asked, it usually meant he had done something wrong.

"Me?" Gideon shrugged. "I'm fine." Dad waited. "I swept the whole garage." Dad still waited. "Oh, and, uh…I sort of hit a baseball through Mr. Weaver's window."

"Sort of?" Dad frowned. "After I told you not to hit balls in the yard?"

"Well, um…yeah." Gideon averted his eyes as they went into the house. "Mr. Weaver got mad. He said he'd call you."

"Hi, Daddy." Four-year-old TJ looked mournful as he sat up on the couch. "I'm sick. I got the chickenpoxes, but I fixed 'em. I sticked bandages on 'em. See?"

Gideon rolled his eyes when he saw his brother. "TJ, how silly can you get! You can't cure chickenpox by covering up the spots! That might hide them a little bit, but it sure won't make them better!"

"That's true," said Dad. "Another thing you shouldn't try to cover up is sin. You can't fix it by being good. So don't try to use good deeds as bandages to cover up your wrongs."

"What do you mean?" asked Gideon.

"I've noticed that when you do something wrong, you often try to cover it by doing a good thing," said Dad. "After you lied to me last week, you raked the leaves. When you disobeyed your mother, you washed dishes. Today you swept the garage as if that would make up for what you did this afternoon."

Gideon dug his toe into the carpet. "I guess I do try to fix things that way sometimes," he said. "When I do something wrong, I feel bad and want to make it better."

"I know," Dad said. "But that's not the way to do it. Jesus is the only one whose goodness can cover our wrongs. We need to confess our sins and trust Him to forgive us. Then we should ask anyone else we've wronged to forgive us too." Dad picked up TJ. "You go to your room and think about it, Gideon, while I take care of this little guy and his stick 'em bandages."

-Barbara J. Westberg

How About You?
Do you try to cover up wrong things you do by doing good things? It's great to do good things, but don't ever think those good deeds can cover your sins. It doesn't work that way. You need Jesus to forgive you. The blood He shed when He died on the cross is the only thing that can cover your sins. Confess your sin to Him, and He will forgive you. Then ask anyone else you wronged to forgive you too.

Today's Key Verse:
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (NLT) (Proverbs 28:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Your good deeds can't cover sin

The Night-Light

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:14-16

Nora sighed. Everybody's doing something, she thought as she listened to the conversation at the table. Everybody but me. Pastor James had come for dinner, and so far the discussion was all about the events their church was putting together to reach people with the gospel. Mom was going to sing with the choir downtown, Dad was in charge of a men's breakfast, and Nora's older brother offered to make posters to advertise the kids' program. Nora pushed her food around on her plate.

I wish I were big enough to help, she thought.

Just then Pastor James turned to Nora. "Do you have any friends you can invite to the kids' program?" he asked.

Nora nodded. "I guess so," she murmured, still wishing she could have a real job like Mom and Dad and her brother did.

As Mom tucked Nora into bed later that night, Nora shared her thoughts. "Honey," said Mom, "inviting friends and praying for them is a real job. It's every bit as important as what any of us are doing."

But Nora wasn't convinced.

"Do you get enough light in your room from your night-light? Or shall I leave the overhead light on?" Mom asked as she turned to leave. "Or I could get a lamp from the living room. Would you like that?"

"No!" exclaimed Nora in surprise. "That would be way too bright and keep me awake. The night-light is perfect."

"So both big lights and small lights are needed, right? And I think they're equally important, don't you?"

"Yep," said Nora. "When I wake up at night, I like the little night-light. But when I read, I need the bigger lights."

Mom nodded. "They just have different purposes. And that's true of people too--and of tasks that need to be done. They're all needed, and big ones and little ones are equally important. They all help more people know about Jesus. And since you know Him as your Savior, you can be a light for Him in whatever tasks He gives you."

Nora thought about that. "Okay. I'll invite my friends to the kids' program." She grinned. "I'll be a night-light for Jesus."

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Are you too young to preach? To organize meetings? To prepare a dinner? That's okay. Someday the Lord may ask you to do those things. But right now, perhaps you--not your parent or your pastor--can be a friend to the new kid at school, or pray for your teacher, or invite your classmates to church. Whatever God asks you to do, be willing to do it. Be a light for Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much. (CSB) (Luke 16:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Your tasks are important

Squeaky Hearts

Bible Reading: Psalm 139:23-24

"Honey, would you grab a cart and get started in the produce aisle? I'll meet you there in a few minutes."

Sunny gave her mom a thumbs-up and got started on the week's grocery list. To her annoyance, she soon realized she'd picked the loudest cart. One of the wheels was stuck, and every time Sunny turned, the squeaky rubber sound made her cringe.

An older gentleman chuckled as he walked by. "Are you trying to start a drag race in here?" he asked. Sunny was hard-pressed to think of a time she'd felt more embarrassed.

"Well, there you are! I don't know how I was ever able to find you!" Mom said, trying not to laugh.

"Mom, I'm so embarrassed! I should've just gone back for another cart." Sunny's blushing cheeks rivaled the apples in the display behind her.

"Aw, honey. It happens to everyone. In fact, do you know what this reminds me of?"

Sunny shook her head, looking around to see if anyone was staring at her.

"Sure, squeaky wheels can be annoying, but they also alert us to problem areas--sort of like how the Lord alerts us to places in our lives where He wants us to grow. Did you know that in the Bible, King David asked God to highlight the places in his heart that didn't line up with who God was making him to be?" Mom knocked on a watermelon. "Just like I'm testing the integrity of this fruit, our good Father wants to make sure we're strong too. David knew this and wanted to know where in his life he needed to grow. We can also ask the Lord to show us where we're weak, but don't be surprised if you start noticing some squeaky areas needing attention."

"Really? Has this happened to you, Mom?"

"You bet! Many times. It's not always easy to get up close and personal with the squeaky places we're not so proud of, but as we turn them over to the Lord, He shapes those weakened areas and helps us become more like Jesus."

"That's pretty cool, Mom. I love that God cares so much about our growth. I think I'll ask Him where I can grow. In the meantime, can we ditch this squeaky cart?"

Laughing, Mom said, "Not before we alert the manager about this busted wheel!"

-Sara Woodard

How About You?
Are you too young to preach? To organize meetings? To prepare a dinner? That's okay. Someday the Lord may ask you to do those things. But right now, perhaps you--not your parent or your pastor--can be a friend to the new kid at school, or pray for your teacher, or invite your classmates to church. Whatever God asks you to do, be willing to do it. Be a light for Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much. (CSB) (Luke 16:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Your tasks are important

Crowded Out

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:6-8

At the breakfast table, Everly plopped down across from her brother Anthony. "I had another nightmare last night," she said with a sigh.

Anthony looked up from his cereal. "The one about a giant, hairy bat with a gazillion bulging eyes--like the creature in that movie you saw?"

"Yep," Everly said wearily. "That's the one."

"What's the big deal, Everly?" asked Anthony. "Why don't you just forget that thing? You shouldn't think about it right before you go to sleep. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't think about it anymore at all!"

"Are you sure about that, Anthony? Let's try something," said Mom. "Right now, I want you to not think about a walrus wearing a red polka-dot swimsuit." She paused. Then she asked, "What are you thinking of?"

"Um, well…" Anthony sighed, figuring he'd might as well tell the truth. "In my mind, I see a walrus splashing around in the water wearing a really funny-looking swimsuit."

"Exactly! Just saying you won't think about something isn't enough," said Mom. "If you really want to stop thinking about it, try replacing those thoughts with something else."

"Like what?" Anthony asked.

"How about something that's beautiful?" Mom suggested.

"Like the woods around Grandma's cottage?" asked Everly.

"Or a humongous pepperoni pizza?" asked Anthony with a chuckle. "Now that's beautiful!"

Mom laughed. "Yes, both of those pictures are beautiful in their own way. Another idea is to think about a good story or song--maybe something you learned at church. Or try to think of a Bible verse that begins with the letter A, then B, and so on. That will help you remember the beautiful truth that you belong to Jesus, who is more powerful than anything bad you could ever think of."

"So it's kind of like crowding out the bad with the good, right?" asked Everly.

"You've got the idea," said Mom. "Crowd out those bad thoughts with good things."

Everly nodded. "Okay. Tonight when I go to bed, I'm going to try it." She grinned. "I know! Before I go to sleep, I'll try to think of Bible characters starting with all the letters of the alphabet--all the way from Andrew to Zacchaeus!"

-Mike Dize

How About You?
Do you struggle with unwanted thoughts that pop into your head? When you try not to think those thoughts, do you end up thinking about them even more? Replace them with better thoughts instead. Try counting your blessings, naming some from A to Z. See how many Bible stories you can remember. Share your scary thoughts with Jesus so He can remind you He is more powerful than they are. Let the beauty of His truth and love crowd out unwanted thoughts.

Today's Key Verse:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (NLT) (Psalm 139:23)

Today's Key Thought:
Replace unwanted thoughts

The Right Clothes

Bible Reading: Isaiah 61:10; Revelation 19:5-9

Olive and Elliot were excited about the costume party their youth group was going to have. There was going to be a prize for the best homemade character costume.

"I hope I win first prize," Olive said as she worked on her princess costume. She showed Elliot a little paper crown decorated with beads. "Do you like my jeweled tiara?"

"Nice!" said Elliot. "I just finished making a hat for my Robin Hood costume." He proudly displayed his handiwork.

Olive grinned. "Well, if I don't win, I hope you do!"

When they got dressed for the party later that week, Mom looked them over. "You both look great," she said. "I'd give each of you a prize."

After the party, Olive and Elliot rushed into the house. "Guess what?" Elliot exclaimed. "We both won! The judges couldn't decide which costume was best, so they said it was a tie."

"Yeah." Olive nodded. "I guess we kinda hogged the prizes. I almost feel guilty." She giggled. "Almost, but not quite!"

"Well, I'm glad you kids had fun," said Mom.

"We did," said Elliot. "And we even learned something too! Pastor Perry talked about all the work that went into costumes for this one evening of fun. Then he said we should make sure we have the right clothes for something even more important. He said the Bible talks about being clothed with salvation and righteousness."

Olive nodded. "When we trust Jesus to save us from sin, we're covered with His goodness, and that makes us acceptable in God's sight. In that sense, Jesus gives us the clothes we need to have eternal life with Him."

"That's right," said Mom. "Those are the clothes that really matter. We're so often concerned about what we wear to school or work or even a costume party, but it's much more important to make sure we have the right clothes for eternity. We need Jesus to cover us with His goodness and grace."

"Olive and I are both dressed for eternity," said Elliot.

"Yep. We both know Jesus!" Olive tugged at her princess dress. "But right now, I'm ready to change out of this costume and put on my pajamas."

Mom nodded. "Good night, Robin Hood and Princess Olive."

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Do you put a lot of thought into what you wear to school or to a costume party? That's fine, but don't forget about the most important outfit of all. You need Jesus to clothe you in salvation and righteousness--you need Him to save you from sin and give you His goodness. Trust in Him so you'll have the right clothes for eternity. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. (NLT) (Isaiah 61:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Be dressed for eternity
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