Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


The Way God Made It

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:4-7; 1 John 5:14-15

"A-vee-air-ee," read Logan, looking at the sign above the door of one of the buildings at the zoo. He was visiting the zoo with his Uncle Mike. "What does that mean?" asked Logan.

"An aviary is a place where birds are kept. Let's see what kinds they have here." They opened the door and heard a lot of chirping and squawking, and as they walked through the building, they saw many different kinds of birds. "Look over there." Uncle Mike pointed toward a flamingo standing on one leg. "That one is asleep."

"What a funny way to sleep!" said Logan. "How can that one skinny leg hold up such a big bird?"

"Well, all I can tell you is that's the way God made it," said Uncle Mike. "It's amazing, isn't it?" Logan grinned and nodded.

After leaving the aviary, Uncle Mike bought them each a snack. As they sat on a bench and munched their chips, Logan was very quiet. "Thinking about your parents again?" asked Uncle Mike.

"Yeah," said Logan. "I just know they're going to get a divorce."

"Now, you don't know that for sure, Logan. The reason you're here with me this weekend is so they could go to that marriage seminar. I think they're going to try to work things out."

"Well, maybe," said Logan. "I know that's what they talked about, but I wish I could do something to help them."

"You can pray," said Uncle Mike.

"I already do that," said Logan. "I pray all the time! But that's just a little thing."

"That's what you said about the flamingo's leg," Uncle Mike reminded him. "But that little leg held the whole bird up, didn't it? And though our prayers may seem small, God uses them to do great things. Even when things don't turn out the way we want, we can have peace knowing that He hears us when we pray and promises to work through our prayers to do good things and show people His love." Uncle Mike smiled. "That's the way God made it."

–Sara L. Nelson

How About You?
Do you have problems that are totally out of your control, and the only thing you can do about them is pray? That's actually the best thing you can do for any of your problems, because your prayers are going to a very powerful God who loves you very much! If you know Jesus, you are God's child, and He promises to use your prayers for good, even when He doesn't answer them the way you ask. Pray about your problems, and then trust God to answer in His own special way.

Today's Key Verse:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (NIV) (James 5:16)

Today's Key Thought:
Prayer goes a long way

Clover and the Cone

Bible Reading: Isaiah 53:3-5; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Hebrews 4:14-16

When Alyce got home from school and saw her dog wearing a plastic cone around her head, she rushed over and plopped down next to her on the floor. As Clover stared up at her with sad brown eyes, Alyce felt like her heart might burst. "Mom!" she called, her voice catching. "What happened to Clover?"

Mom came in from the other room. "I'm sorry, Alyce, I was going to text you and forgot. Clover is fine, but she stepped on a splintered piece of wood in the yard today and injured her paw. The vet bandaged it up, but she has to wear a cone so she won't lick it and cause the wound to become infected."

"But what about walking in the St. Patrick's Day parade tomorrow?" asked Alyce.

Mom shook her head. "I'm afraid she can't put much weight on that foot."

Alyce's eyes filled with tears. "But she loves walking in the parade! And we even bought a bandana with green clovers on it for her to wear." Alyce buried her face in her dog's soft fur. "I'm so sorry this happened to you, Clover."

Mom knelt down and rubbed Alyce's back. "Clover will be okay, Alyce, but I'm sure it helps her to know you love her and want to comfort her."

Alyce sniffed. "I know she hates wearing this cone, and her paw probably hurts too. Seeing her sad and in pain makes me feel that way too."

Mom nodded. "It reminds me of something I read in my Bible this morning about Jesus's compassion for us. Sometimes when we're going through hard things, it can seem like God is distant and uncaring, but nothing is farther from the truth. Jesus promises to always be with those who trust in Him, and He is with us when we're hurting. He knows how we feel because He experienced pain, sadness, and hardship too when He came to earth to die for our sins, and He comforts us in our troubles."

Alyce smiled down at her dog. "Just like I want to comfort Clover." Her eyes suddenly lit up. "Hey, Mom, instead of having Clover walk in the parade, could we pull her in the green wagon? I think that would cheer her up."

Mom grinned. "That's a great idea!"

–Courtney Lasater

How About You?
Are you facing difficult circumstances in your life? We may not always understand why God allows hard things to happen, but we know that Jesus understands our pain and promises to be with us in our struggles. He knows exactly what you're going through and how you feel, and He wants to comfort you and encourage you. Share your pain and sadness with Him, knowing He cares about you.

Today's Key Verse:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles. (NIV) (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 )

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus hurts with us

When the Flag Flies

Bible Reading: John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-11

Grayson settled down to listen as his Sunday school teacher began to speak. "I read an article this week about traditions in England," said Mr. Jensen. "It mentioned several castles that are available to the king to live in. Sometimes he stays in one, and sometimes in another. Whenever he's in one of his homes, his flag flies over that roof. It lets his subjects know their king is inside." Mr. Jensen paused as he looked at the class. "You know, for those of us who are Christians, the King of Kings lives within us. What are some things we could use as a flag--things that would show that we have Jesus in our lives?"

Josh raised his hand. "We could let others know we go to church," he suggested when the teacher called on him.

"Good!" Mr. Jensen smiled. "Of course, just because someone goes to church doesn't mean they're a Christian. But for those of you who are, it gives a testimony--sort of like you're flying Christ's flag for others to see. Let your friends know you go to church because you want to learn more about Jesus. Who else can suggest something to use as a flag?"

"We should obey our parents," Grayson said.

Mr. Jensen nodded. "And why should you obey them?"

"Because God tells us to," replied Grayson.

"In other words," said Mr. Jensen, "we should obey God, right? We should do what He says--and how do we know what that is?"

"It tells us in the Bible," said Emery. "That's where the Ten Commandments are found."

"Yes, and they're very important," said Mr. Jensen, holding up his Bible. "But the Bible contains many other commandments as well. In fact, our lesson today talks about a new commandment Jesus gave His disciples--including us. Perhaps it's the best flag we could show others. It's the one Jesus says will show that we belong to Him. He commands us to love others the way He loves us. Jesus loves us so much that He died on the cross so we could be saved and have His love in our hearts. When we love others, it shows them that Jesus is our King and that His Spirit lives in us."

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Are you flying a flag that shows others you're a Christian? Jesus tells us that the most important flag of all is love. He commands us to love others as He loves us. That's a lot of love! If you know Jesus, He's given you the ability to love others the way He does. When you treat others with love, you're flying His flag and showing others that He lives in your heart.

Today's Key Verse:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (NIV) (John 13:34)

Today's Key Thought:
Love one another

Dirty Dishes

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:19-22; James 1:12

Dinner was ready, and everyone was called to the table. After Dad prayed, Gianna was the first to notice that something was wrong. "These dishes are dirty!" she exclaimed. "Why are they on the table?"

Mom gasped as she looked at her plate. "My fault. I told Grandma to use the plates from the dishwasher. I must have forgotten to turn it on last night."

"Oh dear!" exclaimed Grandma, who was nearly blind. "They must have been rinsed off and I couldn't see well enough to know they were still dirty. I'm so sorry!" After a good laugh, Gianna and her sister Cosima jumped up to remove the dirty dishes and replace them with clean ones.

After reading the passage for family devotions that evening, Dad closed his Bible thoughtfully. "The verses we just read say that we are vessels to be used by God. We all saw how unpleasant it would be to eat out of dirty vessels at dinner tonight, didn't we? We want clean dishes for our food."

"That's for sure!" said Cosima.

"When God says we need to be clean vessels, do you suppose He means we should take a bath?" asked Dad.

"Well, I've heard a saying about how cleanliness is next to godliness," said Gianna.

"Is that in the Bible?" asked Cosima.

Dad chuckled. "No, it's not. We should keep our bodies clean, of course, but I don't think that's what these verses mean."

"I don't think so either," said Mom. "God says we need to have hearts made clean and pure by Jesus and live in a way that shows others His love. I think that's what He's referring to here."

Dad nodded. "The apostle Paul told Timothy to flee from evil desires and pursue virtues like faith, love, and peace alongside other believers. We need to do the same thing. As Christians, we need to remind one another to turn from sin and focus on Jesus, who has forgiven our wrongs and washed us clean. As we trust Him to fill us with His peace and love, we become vessels He can use to show others who He is."

"We needed clean dishes for dinner tonight," said Grandma. "And the world needs clean vessels to show people the love of Jesus."

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Are you a clean vessel that's ready to be used? The only way we can be clean and pure is to trust Jesus to forgive our sins. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page or go to www.keysforkids.org/goodnews.) Then, as He works in our hearts, He helps us turn away from sin and share His love with others in the way we live. Trust Him to make you a vessel He can use to bring others to Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (NKJV) (2 Timothy 2:21)

Today's Key Thought:
Be a vessel God can use

A Real Offering

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10

"Mom, can I have some money to put in the collection plate?" asked Gunnar.

"Didn't you bring your own offering?" Mom asked. Gunnar shook his head. Mom frowned, but she reached into her wallet and took out some money. "Just this once," she said as she handed it to Gunnar.

That afternoon, Gunnar had a suggestion for his mother. "My birthday is next week, you know. If you can't think of anything to get me, I have some ideas."

Mom looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well, actually, when Grandpa and Grandma were here last week, they left a birthday present for you. Maybe I'll just give you that." She smiled brightly at Gunnar.

"Mom! I'm serious. I'm talking about what you might get for me, not what they're giving me. Like I said, I have some ideas."

"What's wrong with my idea?" asked Mom, acting surprised. "I'm sure the package they left has something really nice in it."

Gunnar frowned. "You're just kidding, right? I mean, it won't really be from you if you give me something they bought me."

"You're absolutely right, Gunnar," said Mom. "I'm not truly giving if I give you something that doesn't belong to me--something I didn't put any thought or effort or money toward. You wouldn't be happy about that, would you?" Gunnar shook his head. "But at church this morning, you were okay with giving God a gift that wasn't really from you," Mom pointed out.

"But you used to always give me money for church!" said Gunnar.

"When you were too young to have your own money, I gave you some so you'd get in the habit of giving to God. Now that you have an allowance, you should give some of your own money. Then you'll be giving a real offering instead of simply dropping money into the collection plate, right?"

Gunnar sighed. "Yeah, I guess so."

"The Bible tells us to give to God with a cheerful heart out of love and gratitude for all He's done for us," said Mom. "When we give gifts to God that cost us something, it reminds us of His gift to us that cost Him everything--His Son, Jesus."

Gunnar thought about it and nodded. "Next time, I'll bring my own offering."

–Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Do you put money in the offering plate at church? When we give back to God to thank Him for everything He's done for us and acknowledge that all we have comes from Him, we're giving with a cheerful heart. Perhaps you don't have any money of your own yet, but when you do, offer some of it back to Him out of gratitude for all He's given you.

Today's Key Verse:
Let each one give…not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NKJV) (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Today's Key Thought:
Give to God
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