Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

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

Light and Truth (Part 2)

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

"Why would God do that? Why would He send His Son to die?" Arjun wiped powdered sugar from the kalkal he had just eaten off his face.

Reeja smiled brightly, glad to have a chance to tell her friend why her family celebrated Christmas instead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights many of their neighbors celebrated. "Because God loves us that much! The sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, would bring eternal life to whoever believes in Him."

"That's wonderful, but I feel bad for Jesus," Arjun murmured.

Reeja's eyes sparkled. "Arjun, Jesus is alive! After He died for our sins, He rose from the dead three days later--the Bible says so."

"And you believe this? That must take a lot of faith!"

Reeja shrugged. "I just know I have been called out of darkness into the light. When we are without Jesus, we are in the dark. He is the light of the world, and whoever trusts in Him has the light of life."

Arjun's forehead wrinkled in contemplation. "Does it say this in the Bible? Could you show me?"

Reeja pulled her Bible off the table, powdered sugar fingerprints dusting the cover. She flipped to John 8:12. "You see how these words are printed in red? These are the words of Jesus. Here, read them."

Arjun read softly, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Reeja pointed to another verse on the same page. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," she read.

"Truth is important to Hindus," Arjun said. "I will have to think about what I've read and what we've discussed today. It's fascinating!"

Reeja rose from her chair and stretched. "I'll be praying for you, Arjun. Anytime you want to talk more about Jesus's victory of light over darkness, I'm here. Now, do you want to help me finish decorating the Christmas crib?"

"I would, but I'm going to see my cousins today, so I'd better get home." Arjun headed for the door, then turned back. "Thank you for today. If kalkal is involved, I'll come over again tomorrow!"

Reeja laughed and handed Arjun the last fried pastry on the plate. "I hope this will satisfy your craving until then!"

-Savannah Coleman

How About You?
Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you? The Bible says everyone has sinned and we need a Savior. So God sent His perfect Son as a baby in a manger to meet that need. Jesus died for our sins and then rose again, and He gives His truth and light to all who trust in Him. Have you come out of darkness into the light? If not, trust in Him today! (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (NIV) (John 12:46)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus is the light of the world

Light and Truth (Part 1)

Bible Reading: John 1:1-14

Reeja excitedly gathered colorful light strands and grasses. Decorating the Christmas crib was her favorite part of welcoming the Christmas season. Her mother told her they called it a nativity scene in America, where Reeja's uncle lived. Regardless of what it was called, Reeja was just happy to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

"Maybe this year I'll add a waterfall," Reeja mused as she collected large rocks to incorporate into her Christmas crib. She paused to look at the houses around her. Some neighbors were constructing their own cribs, while other yards were empty. Arjun, the boy who lived next door, walked out his front door. Reeja gave him a friendly wave, and Arjun grinned and headed over.

"Would you like to help me decorate?" Reeja asked.

Arjun nodded enthusiastically. "My parents don't decorate for the Christmas season, but our house looked really nice for Diwali."

Reeja recalled the bright lights and beautiful colors at the traditional Hindu festival of lights. "Yes, I remember your home looked very festive!"

"How come you don't celebrate Diwali?" Arjun asked. "It's about the victory of light over darkness."

Reeja wove a strand of star lights through some of the grasses. "We celebrate a different kind of victory of light over darkness when we celebrate Christmas."

"What do you mean?" Arjun's face looked puzzled.

"Do you know of the Bible? It's the book of truth Christians live by."

Arjun nodded. "I've heard about the Bible, but I haven't read it."

"It starts with the beginning of creation, where everything was created by God and it was good. But then humans disobeyed God and sin and death entered the world. God knew we needed someone to save us, so He sent His one and only Son, Jesus. He came to earth as a baby, and when He grew up, He died on a cross to defeat sin and death. He conquered the darkness with His light." Reeja patted the straw that made up the manger bed.

"Who wants some kalkal?" Reeja's mom's voice rang over the yard. Arjun's mouth watered as he pictured the fried pastry treat in his mind.

"Come on," Reeja said. "We'll talk more after our snack. Mom always makes kalkal with extra powdered sugar!"

-Savannah Coleman

How About You?
Do you have friends or neighbors who don't know Jesus? If you know Him as your Savior, you have His hope inside you like a bright light shining in the darkness. When someone asks you about your faith, trust God for help in speaking His truth to them with gentleness and respect. Share His light with others by telling them about the hope you have in Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
But you are a chosen people…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV) (1 Peter 2:9)

Today's Key Thought:
Share the light of Jesus