Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


God’s Jewels (Part 2)

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-7

"Take a look at this. This is a diamond!" said Mr. Billings, holding up a dull-looking rock. The kids in his Sunday school class looked surprised as they passed it around. The rock looked a lot like a rock they'd find on the side of the road. "Most diamonds look dull like this when they come from the mines," Mr. Billings told them. "Before this diamond can flash and sparkle, I have to cut many little sides, or facets, in it. Each one must be just the right size and angle to bring out its full beauty. Let me show you."

The class grouped around Mr. Billings. He showed them how he had to decide where to split away the rough, unimportant parts and leave smooth facets on the stone. "See how much better this is beginning to look?" he asked after making several cuts. "It has a long way to go, but you can begin to see what it will become." He turned toward the kids. "Here's what I want you to remember. God is also working on His jewels--Christians. What do you think I mean by that?"

"That God works in our lives to make us more like Jesus?" said Bo.

Mr. Billings nodded. "Yes. When we first come to Jesus and trust Him to save us, we're like a rough, uncut gem. Then God begins to develop Christian character in us through our day-to-day experiences. Sometimes He uses trouble and tough times to polish us and make us more like Him. But there's a big difference between my cutting and polishing and His. Can you guess what?"

"I think I know," said Kylee. "God would never make a wrong cut--He never makes a mistake."

"Good answer!" said Mr. Billings. "And another difference is that we're not lifeless like this diamond is. We have a choice--we can become bitter about what happens and fight back or we can trust the Lord to shape our lives. Even though the cutting and polishing may hurt sometimes, He knows what He's doing. He knows what's best for us. And it takes a long time--our whole lives--before He's finished. Trust Him to use all your life experiences to shape you into something beautiful."

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Have you been having troubles lately? It's hard to go through difficult times, but God can use them to shape you and polish you so you'll shine with the light of Jesus. Look to Him for strength and comfort as you read your Bible, pray, and spend time with other believers. Trust God to be with you in whatever you're going through. He can use the hard times in your life to deepen your faith and develop your character so you'll become more like Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (NLT) (Philippians 2:13)

Today's Key Thought:
God is polishing you

Nutcracker Lesson

Bible Reading: Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 6:13-18

"Look!" said Mirabel. "A white-breasted nutcracker!"

Carmen laughed at her younger sister. "I think you mean a white-breasted nuthatch."

"Oh--well, I was close," Mirabel said.

Carmen looked out at the bird feeders Mom had helped her hang on the pine trees. She loved the little birds that flocked in their front yard.

"Uh-oh," said Mirabel. "There's that tiger cat again. He's crouching under the tree."

"Yeah," said Carmen. "He looks like he's ready to pounce! Quick, bang on the window and try to scare him away." They both knocked on the window. The cat looked up, startled, and disappeared into the woods.

"I think he belongs to one of the houses on the next street," said Carmen. "Well, we scared him away this time. Mom did too last week. She opened the window and banged on a pan."

"And Rollo barked his head off at him the other day," said Mirabel.

Carmen laughed. "Well then, I guess we're all prepared for any future attacks."

"Yeah," said Mirabel. "We've got pans and dogs and we're ready for war!"

"I'm not sure how effective those weapons would be in a real war," said Carmen. "But for us they should work just fine!" She looked at Mirabel. "Mom and I talked about weapons not too long ago when I was telling her about this new girl in my class named Abby who's not very nice. Mom said not to act the same way back to her--she said the Bible tells us our weapons are different, and they're really powerful."

"What are they?" asked Mirabel. "Water balloons--or slingshots?"

"No, nothing like that. Things like prayer. Mom said to pray for her, and she gave me some verses to memorize to help me remember that Jesus loves Abby and died for her."

"Do you really think those weapons are going to work?" asked Mirabel.

"They already are!" said Carmen. "I've been praying for Abby, and every day I feel myself becoming more patient with her. And trusting Jesus to help me see her the way He does has helped me treat her well without expecting her to be kind to me in return."

"Wow," said Mirabel. "I guess God's weapons really do work." She looked out at a little nuthatch. "Oh look--another nutcracker!"

–Sharon Lee Roberts

How About You?
Did you know that God offers spiritual weapons for you to use in any situation? It's easy to want to deal with difficult people and hard situations the way the world does, but the Bible tells us God's weapons--things like prayer, Scripture, love, and faith--are much more effective. They put the problem in God's hands, and He can do anything--even turn enemies into friends!

Today's Key Verse:
If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. (NKJV) (Romans 12:20)

Today's Key Thought:
Use God's weapons

God’s Jewels (Part 1)

Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 16:7; Malachi 3:16-18; Matthew 7:21-23

Mr. Billings opened the door to his shop and stood aside to let his Sunday school class through. "Welcome to my shop!" he said. "As you know, I'm a lapidary--a gem cutter. Look around and see which gems you like best."

The kids walked into a glittering world of sparkling jewels in lit cases. Bright instruments gleamed from their places on a work table in the back.

"Wow! Look at all this cool stuff!" said Bo. The kids looked around for several minutes, pointing out the gems they liked best.

After a while, Mr. Billings called them over. "Kids, did you know that God refers to those who trust in Him as His jewels? If you're a Christian, you're one of them--one of His special treasures!"

"If I'm a jewel, I'd like to be like one of those," said Annaleigh, pointing to a sparkling, clear gem set in a ring.

"Not me." Bo pointed to a ring with a bigger stone. "I think this one's the best."

Mr. Billings took out both rings. "One of these is a real diamond, and the other is a cubic zirconium--a fake. Can you tell which is which?"

The kids examined the stones carefully, but they couldn't see any difference. Mr. Billings picked up Bo's choice. "This is the fake," he said. "It's not surprising that both of these look real to you, but I can easily tell the difference because I know jewels." He put the rings back into the case while the children whispered in surprise to each other.

When the kids turned their attention back to Mr. Billings, he said, "You know, God knows people even better than I know these jewels. The Bible tells us that while we see only the outside of a person, God sees the heart. He knows which people are truly His--those who know Jesus as their Savior--and which people only look like they're Christians on the outside. One day, God is going to gather all His jewels and take them to be with Him forever. If you're not sure whether you're one of God's jewels, I'd like to talk with you about what Jesus has done so you can know you're His jewel too."

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Are you one of God's jewels? Or do you just appear to be a Christian on the outside? Maybe you aren't quite certain. If you're not sure, talk to a trusted Christian in your life who can tell you more about what it means to know Jesus as your Savior. He died for you so you could become a precious child of God and live with Him forever. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page or go to www.keysforkids.org/goodnews.)

Today's Key Verse:
"They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts, "on the day that I make them My jewels." (NKJV) (Malachi 3:17)

Today's Key Thought:
You can be one of God's jewels

New Beginnings

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Garrett lay in the warmth of the bright sunshine and watched beautiful butterflies flit from one flower to another. "This is the saddest day of my life," he said to his brother Wyatt, who was lying on the ground next to him.

"Yeah, mine too," Wyatt said as he dug at the grass with a stubby piece of stick. "I can't believe Grandma died. She wasn't sick very long at all!"

"I know," said Garrett. "I miss her."

The back door opened, and Mom came out carrying two glasses of juice. "Can I join you?" she asked as she handed each of them a glass. The boys scooted apart, and Mom sat down between them. She had been crying--her eyes were puffy and her nose was red. She closed her eyes and lifted her face toward the warm sun. "The sun feels so good, doesn't it? I'm glad God gave us such a beautiful day," she said as she looked around the yard. "Look at all those pretty butterflies!"

"I guess they hatched from these things," said Garrett, handing a couple of empty gray casings to his mother. "Grandma showed these to me a few days ago. She said the caterpillars in them would turn into butterflies."

Mom smiled and nodded. "Those caterpillars have a new and better life now, don't they?" She put an arm around each of the boys. "Just like Grandma." Tears spilled onto Mom's cheeks. "She left her old, worn-out body, and now she's with Jesus in heaven. Someday her body will be resurrected and made all new and perfect. Can you imagine what she might do then?"

"I never thought about it before, but she told us she used to like running races," said Wyatt. "So she'll probably run a lot when she has a body that doesn't hurt from arthritis anymore."

"Yeah!" said Garrett. "I never thought of Grandma being able to run. She always moved so slowly. Maybe she'll even do cartwheels!"

Mom laughed. "Maybe. We can be sure she's happy and will never feel pain again." Mom wiped her eyes. "But it's still normal for us to feel sad and miss her. Just remember that since we all know Jesus as our Savior, we'll see Grandma again one day."

–Deborah L. Whitsitt

How About You?
Have you been sad when someone you love died? It's okay to feel sad, but remember that when a Christian dies, their soul goes to heaven to be with Jesus. So if your loved one knew Jesus as their Savior and you do too, one day you'll see them again! And someday all those who know Jesus will receive a glorious, resurrected body. Even though we feel sad and miss those who have died, we have hope knowing we will live with Jesus forever.

Today's Key Verse:
When the last trumpet is blown…those who have died will be raised to live forever. (NLT) (1 Corinthians 15:52)

Today's Key Thought:
Christians will get new bodies

Tea for Two

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26

"I'm ready for my birthday adventure, Grandma!" Emily said. "Where are we going?"

"You'll see. But you'll need this." Grandma handed Emily a big box.

Emily tore off the paper, opened the box, and gasped. "A dress?"

Grandma nodded. "You'll look so pretty. Go get changed, dear."

Emily put on the dress and eagerly followed Grandma out to the car. After a short drive, Grandma said, "Here we are."

"Is this a mansion?" Emily asked as they climbed the stairs to the front door.

Grandma grinned. "It is a mansion. Long ago different families called it home. Now it's a Victorian tea room."

"Is this why we're all dressed up?" Emily asked. Grandma nodded. Once inside, Emily whispered, "Everything's so fancy. And it's so quiet."

A woman in a long black dress greeted them. "Hello, I'm Rachel. How may I help you?"

"My granddaughter and I have reservations."

"You must be Emily, the birthday girl. May I say you look like a princess in your lovely dress." Rachel smiled. "Please follow me." Rachel led them to their table. "I see you've requested the birthday tea for two with lunch. Excellent choice! I'll bring out your tea first."

"Rachel's so nice," Emily said. "I do feel like a princess in my dress with all the beautiful things here."

"Well, Emily, whether you're here, on a soccer field, or anywhere else, you are a princess," Grandma said. Emily looked puzzled. "You are a child of the King of kings," Grandma told her. "God is your heavenly Father."

"And since He's King over everything, that makes me a princess?"

"That's right. The Bible tells us many times that we are God's children because we trust in Jesus. He died for our sins so we could be forgiven and become part of God's family."

As Emily pondered that, Rachel returned carrying a teapot with yellow rosebuds painted on it. She poured Emily's tea. "Would you like sugar or honey?"

"Honey, please," Emily said.

"Sweets for the sweet princess."

Emily's eyes sparkled as she glanced at Grandma. "Rachel, can I tell you something? It's not this fancy dress that makes me a princess. I'm a princess because I'm a child of God, who's the King of kings!"

"I could tell." Rachel smiled. "I'm a child of God too!"

–Lynda Boucher

How About You?
Are you a child of God and a member of His family? When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we become children of God. As His children, our heavenly Father gives us the Holy Spirit to guide and help us as we walk with Him. If you haven't yet trusted in Jesus, do it today, and you will become a child of the King. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page or go to www.keysforkids.org/goodnews.)

Today's Key Verse:
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. (NIV) (John 1:12 )

Today's Key Thought:
Christians are God's children
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