Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Darkness and Light

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:13-16

"Is your homework finished?" asked Gia's mom after dinner one evening.

"Yeah," said Gia. "But you know what, Mom? I like our new apartment, but I wish I could have stayed at my old school. I don't think there's a single kid in my class here who goes to church except me. They seem nice enough, but I miss having Christian friends at school."

Mom nodded as she opened a cupboard door and took out a flashlight and a light bulb. "The light bulb in the bathroom went out," she said. "It's too dark to see in there, so come hold the flashlight for me, will you?"

"Okay," said Gia. She took the flashlight and turned it on.

"Do the kids at school know you're a Christian?" asked Mom.

"Well, I haven't really said anything," said Gia. "I'm not sure what they'd think." She sighed. "It was so much easier to be a Christian at my old school." She turned the flashlight toward the light fixture and Mom quickly screwed out the old bulb and replaced it with a new one.

"Gia," Mom said as they headed back to the kitchen, "where was that flashlight needed--in the kitchen or in the bathroom?"

"In the bathroom," Gia answered. "That's where it was dark."

"Right," said Mom. "Jesus said to let our light shine for Him, and that's needed most in dark places--places like the school you go to now, and like this apartment complex too. I've talked with a few of our neighbors, and I don't think any of them know the Lord."

Mom put the flashlight back in the cupboard. "Why don't you ask one of the girls from school to come over for dinner sometime?" she suggested. "As she gets to know you better, she'll start to see that you live life differently from what she's used to, and she might want to find out more about it."

"Okay," said Gia. "I'll try Rumi first--she's really nice."

"Good," said Mom. "And let's see how you can get involved at our new church too. That will help you get to know some Christian friends who can support and encourage you as you shine your light for Jesus."

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Are there kids in your neighborhood or school who don't know Jesus? Does that make it hard for you to speak up and let others know you're a Christian? Remember, if there's a lot of spiritual darkness around you, that's exactly where you need to let your light shine for Jesus. Let it shine through your obedience, honesty, kindness, forgiveness, and by using opportunities to tell others about Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Shine as lights in the world. (NKJV) (Philippians 2:15)

Today's Key Thought:
Let your light shine

Change

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 31:6; Lamentations 3:21-23

Manuel's sneakers squeaked as he dragged his feet across the kitchen linoleum. Dad looked up from the pot he was stirring on the stove. "Looks like you had a rough day."

Dad brought him his favorite after-school snack--cookies and a glass of milk. Manuel took a bite of his cookie and made a face. "Hey, Dad, these don't taste the same," he said.

Dad looked at the box in surprise. "Maybe they changed the recipe."

Manuel pushed his plate away and slid lower into his seat. "Why can't things just stay the same? Why do they all have to change?"

Dad set the box aside and leaned his elbows on the counter. "Sounds like you're talking about more than just your snack," he said, concerned. "What's going on?"

Manuel swallowed around the lump in his throat that had been there all day. "Josh is moving to another state. He's been my best friend since kindergarten, and now I have to go to middle school without him!"

Dad frowned. "I'm sorry to hear that. You're going to miss him a lot, aren't you?" Manuel nodded. "And you're worried about how different middle school is going to be from elementary school?" Manuel nodded again. "It's normal to miss your friend and be worried about a new school," continued Dad. "But change is a part of life. One thing will never change, though."

Manuel liked how that sounded--one thing that he could always count on to stay the same. "What is it, Dad?" he asked eagerly.

Dad grinned. "God. The Bible tells us that God never changes. Jesus is always with us, and His love for us never wavers. We can always count on Him to be there, no matter what happens."

Manuel felt the lump in his throat shrinking. "That's good."

"So when you feel overwhelmed, you can talk to Jesus about it and know that He'll be there with you."

"Thanks, Dad," Manuel said, feeling a little better. He would still miss Josh, but at least he wouldn't have to go to middle school alone. Jesus would be there with him.

Manuel took a cookie and dunked it in his glass of milk. His eyes lit up. "Hey, these aren't so bad after all!"

–Christa Hogan

How About You?
Do you find change difficult? Are changes that are out of your control happening in your life? Remember that no matter what changes around you, you can always count on God to stay the same. Jesus loves you so much that He gave His own life for you. He will always be there for you and help you through whatever comes your way.

Today's Key Verse:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (NKJV) (Hebrews 13:8)

Today's Key Thought:
God never changes

Lonely on Valentine’s Day?

Bible Reading: John 13:34-35

"Did Daddy give you those roses?" asked Chloe.

Mom smiled. "They smell so good. He never forgets Valentine's Day. He took some daisies and some cookies over to Grandma too. She may feel lonely today."

"Why would she feel lonely on Valentine's Day? It's so much fun--and delicious!"

"Well, Grandpa always gave her flowers on special days. That made her feel loved. Now that Grandpa has passed away, we want Grandma to know she's still loved. Actually, many people feel lonely on Valentine's Day."

Chloe seemed puzzled, so Mom explained. "People like Grandma who have lost a loved one may feel sad and lonely on Valentine's Day, or someone whose spouse is away in the military, or a single person who hoped to get married but didn't."

Chloe was still thinking about that while she waited for her friend Laura to arrive. In Sunday school, she'd learned that the Bible says to "bear one another's burdens." Mom and Dad were helping lift Grandma's burden of loneliness by showing her she was valued. Chloe prayed, Lord, please show me how to help someone feel valued today.

She and Laura had planned to go to the movies. But Chloe had a plan.

"My mom said that some people are sad on Valentine's Day, like Mrs. Holt across the street," she told Laura. "Her husband died last summer. He used to come over here and Dad would help him pick bouquets of wildflowers for his wife from our backyard garden. She probably misses that. What if, instead of going to the movies today, we made her a bouquet?"

Laura loved that idea. "I have some red ribbons we could tie it with to make it fancy. Hey, what about Miss Whitman, the cafeteria lady? I bet she'd love some flowers. Who else?"

"Let's make a list," said Chloe.

By that afternoon, the girls had made and delivered bouquets to six people, who all seemed pleased to be remembered. Then the girls took several bouquets to the senior center to brighten up their dinner tables.

When Chloe's dad heard about it, he beamed. "You two gave up your own plans to bring smiles to a lot of people today. Well done, girls."

–Teresa Ambord

How About You?
Have you ever felt lonely or sad? Of course you have. Some people are deeply lonely or sad much of the time, and you may not even know it. Jesus cares about people who are hurting, and you can remind them of His love by showing that you care about them too. You might be able to lift someone's burden with a smile, a cheerful "hello," or a sincere compliment. Look for ways to help those who may be feeling sad or lonely know they're loved and valued.

Today's Key Verse:
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (NKJV) (Galatians 6:2 )

Today's Key Thought:
Help others feel loved

The Legend of Two Wolves

Bible Reading: Romans 7:19-25; 1 John 5:4-5

Jamar loved the smell of the pine forest mingling with the smoke from campfires as he and his dad sat in the outdoor amphitheater at the national park campground. They were listening to the park ranger talk about wolves. Near the end of his talk, the ranger said, "I'm going to close with a legend that has been passed down for hundreds of years."

Jamar relaxed against a log, eager to hear the story.

"Many, many years ago," began the ranger, "a Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson. 'Inside of me are two wolves,' said the grandfather, 'and they are having a terrible fight. One wolf is evil--full of hate, lies, anger, greed, and jealousy. The other wolf is good--full of peace, love, truth, sharing, kindness, friendship, and generosity. That same fight is going on inside of you.'

"The grandson looked concerned. 'But which wolf will win?' he asked.

"The wise grandfather replied, 'The one you feed!'"

As Jamar and his dad walked back to their campsite, they talked about what the ranger said. "That story has a lot of biblical truth!" said Dad. "The Bible says a fight is going on inside us as Christians. Our old sinful nature--the selfish desires all people are born with--fights against the new spiritual nature Jesus gave us when we trusted in Him."

Jamar was silent for a bit, then sighed. "And it's a lot easier to feed the bad wolf, isn't it?"

"Sometimes it seems that way," said Dad. "The world's way of doing things is all around us, and we have to be careful not to feed on its false messages. That's why it's such a good idea to start each day by feeding the good wolf."

"Like reading the Bible and praying?" asked Jamar.

"Exactly!" replied Dad. "As we focus our minds on God's truth, it helps us remember that our sinful nature doesn't have to control us because Jesus has freed us from sin. He's made us new people, and we have the Holy Spirit within us to help us resist temptation. One day Jesus will give us new bodies and our sinful nature will be gone forever, but until then, we don't have to let the bad wolf win."

–Lore Wolif

How About You?
Have you felt the tug of war inside of you--the struggle between the good wolf and the bad wolf? Your old sinful nature wants control of your life again. Don't feed it! Instead, feed your new nature by focusing on Jesus and the truth about who you are in Him. He made you a new person when you trusted Him as your Savior, and the selfish desires you had before don't have any power over you. He will help you fight against them and win.

Today's Key Verse:
Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. (NLT) (Romans 13:14 )

Today's Key Thought:
Feed your new nature

The List

Bible Reading: Revelation 21:22-27

Ella smoothed her dress out and reached into her purse to feel the worn pages of her book. She couldn't believe she was going to meet her favorite author! One of Mom's friends worked with the author and invited Ella and Mom to come to a special book signing event. Ella couldn't wait to get her book signed!

As they entered the lobby, a man with a clipboard approached them. "Your names, please?"

Mom gave their names, and he moved his finger down the length of paper. "I'm sorry," he said, "but your names aren't on the list."

"What?" said Mom. "That can't be. A friend of mine invited us."

"I'm sorry," said the man, "but this is a private event. Your names have to be on the list to go inside."

Ella felt the blood rush to her face. She looked down at her purple dress and shiny shoes and thought she might cry. She wasn't going to meet her favorite author after all.

"Wait!" a voice called from down the hall. Ella's heart soared when she saw Mom's friend Caroline coming toward them. "It's okay, John. I forgot to put their names on the list earlier, but you can add them now," she told the man. "They're with me." He added their names to the list and motioned them inside.

Caroline led them into a large room full of people and seated them, then rushed off to finish some things before the event started.

Ella breathed a sigh of relief and pulled out her book. "That was scary! I thought that man was going to kick us out because our names weren't on the list."

Mom nodded. "It's a good thing Caroline came to our rescue." She looked at Ella. "You know, not having our names on that man's list when we came in reminded me how thankful I am that my name is already on the most important list of all."

"What list is that?" asked Ella.

"The Book of Life," said Mom. "It's the list of all those who know Jesus as their Savior. And the only way you can get into heaven is if your name is on it."

–Courtney Lasater

How About You?
Is your name on the most important list of all--the Book of Life? The only way to get your name on that list is to trust Jesus as your Savior. When we were separated from God because of our sin--the wrong things we do--Jesus came to our rescue. He died and rose again to save us and give us eternal life! When you trust in Jesus, your name is written in the Book of Life, and you can have peace knowing you will 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:
Rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (NKJV) (Luke 10:20)

Today's Key Thought:
Make sure you're on God's list
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