Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

The Thermostat

Bible Reading: Psalm 34:11-16

"School was so much fun today," Nadine told her dad at dinner. "Mrs. Edwards had to go to the office for something, and everybody ran around and talked while she was gone. She was so mad when she got back! She said she could hear us way down the hall. Then she made us sit with our heads down on our desks for a while. But she had to go back to the office, and when she left, everybody went wild again. So she made us all stay in at recess."

"Did you talk and leave your seat too?" asked Dad.

Nadine looked startled. "Well, yeah. Everybody did. I figured we'd all get yelled at, so I might as well do it too." Changing the subject quickly, she said, "Can I turn the heat up a little? I'm cold!"

"When the sun goes down, it does get cold pretty fast," said Dad. "Go ahead--turn up the thermostat a bit." Nadine got up and went to do so. "A thermostat is a great invention," Dad said when Nadine returned to her seat. "It's a controlling device. It doesn't just read the temperature in a room; it does something about it if it's not where it was set to be. It tells the furnace when to go on and off." He paused. "I wish I could install a thermostat on you."

"Huh?" Nadine looked at her dad, surprised.

"Just like thermostats, Christians should be in control of themselves too," Dad said. "Like knowing when to be an example of Jesus to others and when to run away from bad behavior. The Bible tells us to overcome evil with good. To do that, we need to remember that Jesus has freed us from sin and given us His goodness and love, and we need to trust Him to help us be good examples in everything we say and do."

Nadine gulped. "You mean, I should have been quiet and stayed in my seat today, and then maybe some of the other kids would have too?"

"They may have," said Dad. "But even if they didn't, I'm sure your teacher would have noticed the respect and care shown to her through your actions."

"You're probably right." Nadine sighed. "I think I owe my teacher an apology."

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Do you go along with the crowd? If everybody does something, do you think that makes it okay for you to join in and do it too? If so, you have things backwards. If you're a Christian, you should be like a thermostat and take control of your actions in every situation. As you trust Jesus to help you turn down hurtful behavior and turn up His goodness and love, you can be a good leader and a good influence on your friends.

Today's Key Verse:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NKJV) (Romans 12:21)

Today's Key Thought:
Be a good influence

Thank You

Bible Reading: Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

"I'm full!" declared Abigail, pushing away from the table.

"Me too," said Matthew. "That turkey was yummy!"

"Would you all like pie now?" asked Mom. "Or would you rather wait until later?"

"Later!" everyone chimed in.

Mom began to remove plates and food from the table, and everybody pitched in to help. "Let me pull the rest of the meat off the turkey bones," Dad said when the table was cleared.

"Thanks. That will be a big help," said Mom. "I'll put the leftovers away, and you kids can load the dishwasher. You'll have to wash some of the pots and pans by hand."

Abigail sighed. "Matthew, you scrape, and I'll rinse," she said, and they got to work. "Oh, Mom," Abigail said after a bit, "there are so many dishes to do today. I don't like doing dishes! We'll hardly have any time left to play!"

"Oh, I think you'll have plenty of time," Dad said. "There aren't very many to do by hand. Most of them go in the dishwasher."

"Yes," said Mom. "The dishwasher is definitely something to be thankful for!"

"Well, I still don't like dirty dishes," grumbled Abigail.

"Hmmm," Mom murmured. "Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for things we don't like, isn't it? But how did we get all these dirty dishes in the first place?"

"We ate Thanksgiving dinner," Matthew replied.

"Right," said Mom. "We ate lots of food, and now we have lots of dirty dishes! So, really, we should be thankful for these stacks of dishes we need to clean because they're evidence of God's goodness to us."

"Oh, I get it," said Matthew. "God gave us all the good food we just ate, and we have lots of dirty dishes to prove it!"

Mom nodded. "The Bible tells us to give thanks in everything. Even when faced with things we don't like, we can thank God for His goodness and for always being with us. We're able to do that because Jesus saved us and promises to bring good out of everything we go through, even hard things."

"Well then, I guess I really am thankful for these dirty dishes," Abigail said as she scrubbed a pot. "But I'm also really thankful for the dishwasher!"

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Have you ever thanked God for dirty dishes? How about dirty clothes? Maybe you can think of other things that aren't fun to deal with but really are a blessing. God has given us so much, and we can give thanks in any situation because He has given us the greatest blessing of all--Jesus. Be sure to thank Him for all things, both big and small.

Today's Key Verse:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV) (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Today's Key Thought:
Thank God for all He gives

Patching the Hole

Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-15

Grayson stomped into the kitchen where his mom was making a pie. "What's wrong?" she asked when she saw the angry frown on his face.

"Kobe stepped on my new remote control car." Grayson held out the mangled toy. "He said he was sorry and that he'd pay to have it fixed, but I don't know if it even can be fixed. I told him he can play by himself from now on!"

"I'm sorry about your car, Grayson," said Mom. "That's frustrating. But isn't Kobe your best friend?"

"He was my best friend," Grayson mumbled.

"That's what I thought," said Mom. "I think your friendship is something like my pie crust." She pointed to the crust she had just placed in the bottom of the pie plate. "What do you see?"

"Not much," said Grayson. "But what's that rough spot? A patch?"

"That's exactly what it is," said Mom. "I accidentally tore a hole in the crust when I put it in the pan, so I flattened a small bit of dough, dampened the edges, and pressed it over the hole. The patch makes the crust strong enough to hold these blueberries." She picked up the berries and poured them in. "Now, something can tear a hole in a friendship too, even between best friends. Then the two friends have to patch the hole. Kobe did his part when he told you he was sorry and offered to pay to have your car fixed."

"But I got it for my birthday!" exclaimed Grayson.

"What's more important? A toy car or a best friend?" Mom asked.

Grayson didn't say anything for a while. "Okay," he said at last, "I'll forgive him, but he'd better be more careful."

Mom raised her brows. "What does God say about the way we should forgive?"

"Um…He says the way Jesus forgave us is the way we…" Grayson stopped. After a moment, he looked up. "When's supper?" he asked.

Mom smiled as she put the pie in the oven. "Since I'm busy getting things ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow, we're just having a frozen pizza. Which means there's plenty of time to go see Kobe and patch your friendship."

"Good! Thanks, Mom!" Grayson grabbed his coat and dashed out the door.

-Dorothy T. Clemmens

How About You?
Aren't you glad God freely forgives and doesn't hold grudges? When friends apologize, do you freely forgive them? If they don't apologize, do you try to figure out something you can do to set things right with them? Don't let the hurt fester until the friendship is lost. When you've hurt someone, say you're sorry and ask for forgiveness. And when others hurt you, forgive them the way Jesus has forgiven you.

Today's Key Verse:
Bear with each other and forgive one another…Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV) (Colossians 3:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Friends forgive each other

Leave the Bricks

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:25-33; Philippians 4:6

"Mom! Mom!" Micah yelled as he ran into the kitchen. "I forgot to get my soccer gear together last night and I don't want to be late for school!"

"Your soccer bag is loaded and waiting for you by the front door," Mom said.

Micah gave his mom a hug. "You're the best, Mom!" Then he grabbed his breakfast, lunch, and soccer bag and ran out to the bus stop. Micah always went to the bus stop early because he worried he might miss the bus. In fact, Micah seemed to worry about everything.

On Sunday, Micah arrived at his Sunday school class early because he didn't want to be late for that either. When the other kids arrived, Mr. Rogers held up a backpack. "Now, let's pretend we're going hiking. I have several things up here on the table. Tell me which things I should bring with me."

On the table, Mr. Rogers had a water bottle, a compass, bandages, a bag of trail mix, and bricks. The students began calling out things Mr. Rogers should put in his backpack. "Why shouldn't I put bricks in my pack?" Mr. Rogers asked.

Everyone laughed. "Because you don't need them and they'd be so heavy to carry around," Micah said.

"Well, that takes us to our Bible lesson for today." Mr. Rogers opened his Bible and read a few verses. "These verses tell us not to worry because God already knows what we need." Mr. Rogers pointed to the bricks. "Let's pretend these bricks represent our worries. Now, think about how heavy a burden that would be, carrying them around for no reason. Worrying is like that. It causes stress but doesn't help the situation. That's why the Bible tells us to bring our worries and concerns to God when we feel anxious and trust Him to take care of them. Jesus can handle anything we're worried about, and He wants to relieve us of these burdens. So as you walk through life with Jesus, leave the bricks behind by giving your worries to Him."

During Mr. Rogers' closing prayer, Micah silently prayed about some of the worries weighing him down, and as he walked out of the classroom, he felt a little lighter.

-Lisa Fuller

How About You?
Do you worry all the time? Worrying is a lot like packing bricks to go on a hiking trip--it just weighs you down without doing anything helpful. Instead of carrying your worries around, turn them over to Jesus. He cares for you and wants to take those burdens off your shoulders. If you feel worried and anxious a lot, talk to an adult about it too. Let go of your worries knowing Jesus is with you and knows exactly what you need.

Today's Key Verse:
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (NLT) (1 Peter 5:7 )

Today's Key Thought:
Give your worries to Jesus

This Is Grace

Bible Reading: Psalm 103:8-14; Hebrews 4:14-16

Editor's note: This story mentions abuse and may not be suitable for young children.

"Everyone, this is Grace," the teacher told the class.

Grace stared at the rows of faces from the front of the room. The teacher had everyone say their names, but Grace didn't bother listening. No one ever wanted to be her friend, and it probably wouldn't be long before she was kicked out of this school too, just like the last one.

It wasn't long before she got in trouble. She knew it was wrong to hurt people, but when kids made fun of her, anger would swell in her chest, and before she knew it, she'd be pulling someone's hair or shoving them into a locker. Then she'd feel horrible, because that's what her mom used to do to her before Grace had gone to live with Aunt Heather. I'm turning into my mom, she thought as she sat in the principal's office.

When Aunt Heather picked her up, Grace stared out the car window. She thought about the field trip to the zoo she'd be missing because she'd been suspended for a few days. She'd never been to the zoo before.

Lost in her thoughts, it was a while before she realized Aunt Heather wasn't taking her home. "Where are we going?" she asked as her aunt turned into a parking lot. Grace's eyes widened when she saw the sign. "Why are we at the zoo?"

"Because I need you to understand something," Aunt Heather said. "Remember what I told you about God's grace? About Jesus loving us so much He died for our sins?" Grace nodded. "Well, when we trust in Jesus, we don't get what we deserve for the wrongs we've done," said Aunt Heather. "Instead, we get eternal life with Him, and He fills our lives with good things. That's grace." Aunt Heather sighed. "I know you've been through a lot, Grace. Jesus does too. He wants to give you grace and help you through the pain you feel because of wrong things done to you. I want to help you too. I made an appointment for you to talk to a counselor tomorrow. Will you do that?"

Grace hesitated, then nodded. "Okay." She looked outside. "Wait--does this mean you're taking me to the zoo? On the day I got suspended?"

"Yep!" Aunt Heather smiled and opened the car door. "This is grace."

-Courtney Lasater

How About You?
Have you done things you're not proud of? Everyone has. We're all sinners. But God's grace covers all our wrongs. Instead of giving us what we deserve, Jesus offers us forgiveness. When we trust in Him, He fills our lives with good things like peace, hope, and joy, and He sticks with us through life's ups and downs. Trust in Him so you can experience His amazing grace. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT) (Hebrews 4:16)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus gives us grace