Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

The Sample

Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 1 John 4:16-19

"Can I go to the store with you, Mom?" Isaac asked. "I want to make sure you get my favorite cereal!" Mom laughed and agreed.

Shortly after arriving at the store, they met Carson, one of Isaac's classmates. "Hey, Isaac, thanks for shoveling my grandma's sidewalk when I didn't feel good yesterday," said Carson. "And thanks for helping me with my math homework too! Guess what I got on our test today? An A minus!"

"All right!" said Isaac. "How did your basketball game go?"

"Much better," said Carson. "Ever since you stood up for me when I missed all those free throws the other day, the guys haven't given me a rough time at all." He turned to go. "Oh! Mom says I can go to Bible club with you this week."

"Great!" exclaimed Isaac. "I think you'll like it."

"I'm sure I will if it's as good as you say," replied Carson, turning to leave. "See ya."

"Wow! I'm surprised," Isaac told his mom as they went down another aisle. "Carson wasn't interested in going to Bible club at all when I invited him. I wonder why he changed his mind."

Just then, they came to the place where a woman was handing out ice cream samples. "Yum!" Isaac exclaimed, taking a bite of the sample she handed him. "Let's get some of this ice cream, Mom."

"It looks good," Mom said. "Choose a flavor, and then we'll be ready to go."

"How can the store afford to give away so much ice cream?" Isaac asked as he debated which kind he wanted. "Look at all those kids coming to get samples now."

"Well, as you just proved, the samples make people want to buy the product, so the store will sell lots of ice cream today," Mom explained as Isaac decided on double chocolate. "You know," Mom added as she placed the carton in her grocery cart, "this reminds me of you. You've been a sample for Jesus."

"What do you mean?" Isaac asked.

"Carson was obviously impressed with the way you treated him," said Mom. "You've given him a taste of what it means to know Jesus, and now Carson wants to know more."

"A taste of life with Jesus," said Isaac. "That's even better than ice cream!"

-Geri Walcott

How About You?
Are you a sample for Jesus? Do your words and actions give others a taste of what He's like? When you treat others with the love He's shown you by being caring, helpful, and kind, it can make them want to know Him too. Let others sample the sweetness of knowing Jesus in how you treat them each day.

Today's Key Verse:
The word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere…for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. (NLT) (1 Thessalonians 1:8 )

Today's Key Thought:
Be a sample for Jesus

The Everlasting Word

Bible Reading: John 1:1-3, 14-18; Revelation 21:3-7

As Tarun scrolled on his tablet, he suddenly stopped and grinned at his sister. "Hey, Amita, what are your thoughts on antidisestablishmentarianism?"

"Um…what?" His sister stared at him. "I have no idea what you just said."

"Actually, I'm not sure what that word means either," said Tarun. "But I'm looking at this website that talks about really long words, and it says antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest word in the English language--except for technical words used only in math or science. Some of those are even longer! The longest word ever is the chemical name methionylthreonylthreon--"

"Stop!" Amita slapped her hands over her ears. "I don't want to hear any more!"

Tarun laughed. "You think that's bad? I barely even started to say it! If I said the whole thing, it would take over three hours!"

"What?" cried Amita. "Who would even say a word like that? It would take forever!"

"Well, not forever," said her brother. "Just three hours."

"Just?" Amita shook her head. "When it comes to saying words, that is forever! Compared to that, anti…antidish…that other really long word you said is nothing!"

Dad smiled at the kids from across the room. "You know," he said, "there actually is a Word that lasts forever."

Both kids' eyes widened. "There is?" said Tarun.

Dad nodded. "Yes, and He is everlasting. I'm talking about Jesus, the Word of God."

"Wait," said Amina. "I thought the Bible was the Word of God."

"The Bible is God's Word, yes," Dad replied. "It reveals God's truth, law, and purpose to us. It tells us who God is and how much He loves us. But in the New Testament, Jesus is called the Word because He reveals God to us in human form. He is God and has always existed, but He took on human form and came to earth to teach us God's truth and fulfill His law on our behalf because we couldn't live up to it ourselves. He showed us God's love by dying for our sins and coming back to life, and He is working out His greater purpose through all those who trust in Him. He reveals who God is because He is God in the flesh--and He will reign for all eternity! He is the everlasting Word."

-Courtney Lasater

How About You?
Do you know any really long words? No matter how long they are, most of them don't take long to say. But there is one Word that lasts forever--do you know Him? Jesus is the everlasting Word because He reveals God's truth, love, and purpose to us in person. If you know Him as your Savior, you will reign with Him for all eternity. (To learn more, click the "Good News!' button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NIV) (John 1:17)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus is the everlasting Word

David’s Refuge

Bible Reading: Psalm 46:1; 91:1-4; Philippians 4:19

"David, your mom is waiting for you."

David started at the sound of Tía Gloria's voice. "Where?"

"At the playground," she answered kindly.

David hurried down the stairs that led up to the home he had known for almost a whole year. He was one of thirty children who lived in the albergue in Lima, Peru, that served as a refuge for children who needed protection.

He looked around. Nearby on a bench, watching a toddler play, was a young woman, who was apparently expecting another child soon.

"Mamá!" David ran to her and gave her a big hug.

She hugged him tight. "David, you've grown so much. Tell me what you've been doing. What have you been learning at school? Are you happy here?"

David soon was talking and smiling, telling his mom about his classes, his friends, and the fun activities he got to do with his albergue family. He played with his little brother and held him. But, after a while, his mom got up, put her bag on her shoulder, and took the toddler's hand. "It's time for me to go," she said.

Pain struck through David's heart. He threw his arms around her. "When can I go back with you?" he asked, fighting tears.

David's mother had a sad look on her face. It was too hard to explain her situation to her little boy. That the safest place for him was there. That she needed a safe place too.

As the door closed behind her, David turned and ran. Tía Gloria found him behind one of the slides.

"David," she said gently, "it's not that your mom doesn't love you. But she needs help too and can't take care of you in the way she wants to right now. But you've been learning about a strong Father who is always there for His children. He's with you, even if others can't be. Who is that?"

"God," David answered, looking up through his tears.

"That's right. God is our refuge--our place of help and comfort. Jesus understands the hurt you're feeling because He experienced the pain of our broken world too when He came to save us. Would you like us to pray to Him right now?"

David nodded. "Yes. And let's pray that He will help my mom too."

-Rachel Avallone

How About You?
Are there times when you feel alone? Have you been disappointed by people you expected to be there when you needed help or love? Even the people who love us the most aren't able to give us all we need. People will fail, because people are imperfect and we live in a broken world. But our heavenly Father will never fail us. He gave us His Son, Jesus, who is with us no matter what. His love never fails.

Today's Key Verse:
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. (NLT) (Psalm 27:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus will never fail us

Not Funny

Bible Reading: Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 8:6-9

"Hey, did you guys hear the one about the man with a wooden leg?" Mitch asked when some of his friends were over. He proceeded to tell a joke he'd overheard at school--a bad one he knew he shouldn't repeat, but he wanted to impress his friends. They thought it was hilarious. As they roared with laughter, Mitch's dad walked past the room. Oh no! Mitch thought when he saw Dad frown. I hope Dad didn't hear that joke!

After his friends left, Mitch wandered into the kitchen. "Hey!" he yelled, staring in horror at a poster he was working on for history class. It was on the table, and his little sister had colored green mustaches on the faces he had carefully drawn. When Teagan saw Mitch looking at it, she started to giggle.

"It's not funny!" Mitch roared, but Teagan kept on laughing. Dad came to see what the trouble was. "Dad, look what Teagan did! And she thinks it's funny!"

Dad immediately sent Teagan to her room. "Teagan doesn't realize how important that poster is to you," Dad said. "She thinks green mustaches are a good joke."

Mitch scowled. "Well, I don't! I'm going to have to redo the whole thing."

"I'm sorry, Mitch. But maybe you can learn something from this." Dad leaned against the countertop. "I'm wondering if you sometimes laugh at things that aren't funny. I didn't clearly hear the joke your friends found so funny, but I noticed you looked embarrassed when you saw me." Mitch blushed, but he was relieved his dad hadn't heard the whole joke.

"You know it's wrong to laugh at someone because of the way they look or talk or because they're unable to do something," Dad continued. "Whenever you laugh at something that's hurtful or wrong, or when you make fun of something that's private, it's sort of like painting green mustaches on things God has made. If you're as childish as Teagan, you might think it's funny. But how do you think Jesus feels about it? Does He think it's funny to laugh at sin or make fun of people He died on the cross for?"

"No," Mitch said quietly.

"God has given us so many good things to laugh about," Dad said. "Let's thank Him for that and be satisfied with them."

-Jessica Van Dessel

How About You?
What kinds of things do you laugh about? Have you heard jokes that make fun of people or things that are personal and private? Did you think those jokes were funny? God wants you to have fun and laugh, but He would never laugh at anything that was hurtful or embarrassing to you or anyone else. He loves us way too much to do that! Laugh at things Jesus would laugh at too.

Today's Key Verse:
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. (NLT) (Ephesians 5:4)

Today's Key Thought:
Hurtful humor isn't funny

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