Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

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

Honking Encouragement

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:20-23; Hebrews 13:17

HONK! HONK! A large flock of noisy geese splashed down into the water just as Jake and his dad arrived at the lake.

"That's a beautiful sight," said Dad as he headed for the trail at one end of the lake.

"What?" shouted Jake. "Those birds make so much noise, I can't hear you."

Dad laughed. "We'll talk later," he shouted back. "Let's hike."

Soon they took a break to rest. "Back there, I said the geese are a beautiful sight to see," said Dad.

"Yeah, but they honked so loud I couldn't hear you," Jake replied. "It sounds like my Sunday school class. Some of the kids talk so much during the lesson, I miss half of what our teacher says."

Dad raised his eyebrows. "Just the other kids, huh?"

Jake blushed. "Well…sometimes I talk during class too."

"That's too bad. I'm sure it's very discouraging for your teacher. She cares about you kids and puts a lot of work into preparing the lesson because she wants you to know about Jesus and His love for you."

Jake started to reply, when…HONK! HONK!

"There they go again," Jake said as they watched the geese rise from the lake and fly off. "At least now they're far enough away so I can hear you." Jake thought for a moment, then asked, "Do you think they're talking to each other?"

"I'd say so. Some people think they're encouraging the leader," Dad replied. "The goose in the front has the hardest job flying against the wind currents because he's the first to hit the gusts of air. Maybe the others honk to cheer him on."

"Wow! That's really something," said Jake. "If a bunch of birds can encourage their leader, we should be able to do that for our teacher at church."

"You're absolutely right, Jake," said Dad. "You should cheer her on--but not by making noise like the geese do. Jesus put your teacher in your life so she could help you know Him better, and you and the other kids can encourage her by being good listeners."

Jake nodded. "I'll be quiet and listen--and I'll encourage the other kids in my class to stop honking too!"

-A. W. Smith

How About You?
Do you sit quietly and listen when your parents, teachers, or pastors teach you about Jesus and the truth of His Word? He gave us the Bible so we could know how much He loves us and what He did to save us, and He put those people in your life to help you understand what it says. Respect them by quietly listening so you can learn what God wants you to know.

Today's Key Verse:
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. (NLT) (Proverbs 4:20)

Today's Key Thought:
Listen when the Bible is taught

Peyton and Her Shadow

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 4:11-15

"Look, Mom!" Ruby called from the patio. "Look at Peyton." Mom looked, and she and Ruby laughed together as they watched the three-year-old play with her shadow in the bright sunlight. Peyton would run as fast as she could, and she saw that her shadow moved right along with her. "Stay there," Peyton commanded the shadow. But it didn't. She took a big jump, and her shadow jumped too. Next she walked slowly. The shadow walked with her. "Okay," said Peyton. "Come with me then." She skipped, and the shadow skipped along, making Peyton laugh.

At dinnertime, Ruby helped set the table. "I'll help too," said Peyton. She carefully watched to see how Ruby placed the dishes and silverware. Then she copied what she observed.

When they sat down to eat, Mom put some lima beans on Peyton's plate before passing them to Ruby, who frowned but put a few on her plate too. After handing the bowl to her younger brother Joey, Ruby hesitantly tasted the beans. Then she took a larger forkful. Seeing her eat them, Joey did the same. Peyton watched them for a minute and then began to eat hers.

After dinner, Dad got up from the table. "Who will help me wash the car before dark?"

Ruby spoke after a few moments of silence. "I'll help. I can wash the windows inside the car while you wash the outside."

"I'll help too!" said Joey quickly.

"Me too!" added Peyton.

Ruby laughed. "What is this? Copy Ruby night?"

Mom smiled. "Remember Peyton and her shadow? Whether she liked it or not, her shadow was with her wherever she went. That's like the influence we have over others. What we do and say can influence other people."

"Yes," said Dad. "Which is why we need to trust God to help us influence others in a good way. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit, who is working in our lives to make us more like Jesus, allowing us to become living examples of what He is like--especially to other believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ."

Mom nodded. "It's such a blessing to have mature Christians in our lives who encourage us through their examples, and I think Joey and Peyton are really blessed by your example, Ruby."

Ruby smiled. "Thanks."

-Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Does your influence encourage those who know Jesus to live for Him? Does it encourage those who don't know Jesus to want to learn more about Him? Remember that being out under the bright sun gives you a good, sharp shadow. In a similar way, resting in the Son of God--Jesus--allows you to be a living example of His goodness through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today's Key Verse:
Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (NKJV) (1 Timothy 4:12)

Today's Key Thought:
Live as an example of Jesus

A Church Flock

Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:22-25

"Look!" Dad pointed to the sky as he, Mia, and Kingston walked home from church together. "That flock of geese is flying south. Winter must be coming."

Kingston had been waiting for this chance all day. "Speaking of winter," he began hesitantly, "hockey season starts soon." He paused. "The thing is, practice will be on Sunday mornings this year."

"That's too bad," Dad said. "We attend church on Sundays."

"But it's only for a few months! Can't I go?" Kingston pleaded. "I promise I'll read my Bible at home."

Their attention was drawn to another flock of geese honking loudly as they flew over. "Do you know why geese fly in a V formation?" Dad asked. Kingston shook his head. "It's because the air behind the leader spreads into a V…something like the wake of a speed boat," Dad said. "When the other birds follow in that V, a swirl of air actually gives them a push forward, making it easier to go a long way and not get tired."

"Pretty smart," said Mia. Then she pointed to a bird trailing far behind the others. "I wonder why that one isn't in the V."

"I suppose he may have been distracted or just slowed down to rest," said Dad. "Now he's probably having a hard time catching up."

"I imagine he'll be pretty tired when he gets to wherever they're going," said Mia.

Dad nodded. "God didn't design geese to go the distance alone." He looked at Kingston. "God didn't design Christians to go it alone either. We gain strength from the support of other believers. Without it, we would be like that last goose--alone and struggling. And the church would be one goose short."

"Oh, Dad!" Kingston shook his head. "The church doesn't need me."

"Oh yes, it does! Jesus created the church so we could encourage one another in our faith and offer support when someone is struggling. Every one of us is needed, because that's one of the ways Jesus shows us His love and strengthens us--through the church."

Kingston sighed. "Okay, I guess I'll find a different hockey team to play on this year," he said. "Hey, maybe we could start a church team--one that holds practices a different day?"

Dad smiled. "That's a great idea!"

-Heather Tekavec

How About You?
Are you a faithful part of your church? Do you meet with other Christians regularly? Jesus didn't intend for His followers to do life on their own. He wants you to gain spiritual strength from the friendship and fellowship of other believers. So don't neglect going to church. You're needed there, and you need the support and encouragement of others who also trust in Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another. (NLT) (Hebrews 10:25)

Today's Key Thought:
Attend church faithfully

A Matador’s Motivation

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:7-10

Easton stood in the yard waving a red blanket. "Prepare to be amazed! I am the most amazing matador, the most amazing bullfighter that ever lived!"

Easton's little brother, Tyler, poked his head out from behind a tree and put his fingers to his forehead, pretending to be a bull. "Charge!" Tyler said, racing toward the blanket.

Easton waited until Tyler had almost reached the blanket before yanking it away. Tyler flew straight past Easton, slowing down when he didn't get the blanket. Tyler turned around and called, "Again!"

They played for several more turns, with Easton always pulling the blanket just out of Tyler's reach. Easton knew he should let Tyler get the blanket at least once, but he was having too much fun frustrating his little brother.

Finally, Tyler turned around and stomped his foot. "That's not fair!" he shouted. "I want to be the bullfighter now."

"No, it's still my turn!" Easton shot back.

They continued arguing until Mom slid open the back porch door. "What's going on?" she asked. Easton and Tyler immediately started blaming each other. Mom shook her head. "Enough! If you boys can't play nicely, you can help me set the table."

Grumbling, both boys trudged inside. Easton slouched all through dinner, annoyed at Tyler for ruining his fun.

"Today's verse is a short one," Dad announced after the meal. "It says, 'And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works.'"

"What does provoke mean?" Tyler asked.

"Provoke means to deliberately encourage someone to do or feel something." Dad looked at Easton. "Like how a bullfighter will provoke a bull to charge by waving his cape. This verse is telling us that, because we are loved and accepted by Jesus, we should provoke our brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that stirs up love and good deeds--not anger and frustration."

Easton looked down, understanding Dad's point. He had been provoking Tyler to a bad attitude, not love and good deeds. "Tyler, I'm sorry for being rude today. Will you forgive me?"

Tyler looked at Easton and nodded his head. "Yeah, I forgive you."

Easton smiled. "Let's clean the table. Then we can play the bullfighter game again. And this time, you can be the matador."

-Olivia Summers

How About You?
Do you have a sibling that annoys you? Do you look for ways to annoy them back? Doing that will only lead to more anger and frustration for both of you. Instead, show them the love of Jesus and encourage them to do good. Provoke others to love and good deeds by following Jesus's example. Today, look for opportunities to motivate others to be like Christ.

Today's Key Verse:
And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works. (CSB) (Hebrews 10:24)

Today's Key Thought:
Encourage others to do good