Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Fools Rush In

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-4

Sebastian quickly wrapped a rubber band around the faucet spray nozzle and ran back to the table. He watched his older sister rush into the kitchen and grab her water bottle. When she turned on the faucet, a fountain of water hit her in the face and she screamed. Sebastian laughed and stamped his feet on the floor. "April Fool!"

"Sebastian!" Leigh shrieked, dripping wet. "That's not funny! I'm going to be late for school!"

Leigh was still fuming when Mom walked in. "Sebastian made the faucet spew water at me, and now I have to go change. I'm going to be late, and I have a quiz in my first class!"

Mom glared at Sebastian, who shrugged and said, "It's April Fools' Day--we always prank each other on April Fools'."

Once Leigh had changed clothes and driven off, Mom got a bottle of orange juice from the fridge and sat down. "Sebastian, I know you were just having fun, but playing a prank like that on Leigh when she's in a hurry to get to school isn't funny. She's trying to get her grades up so she can apply for college. Thinking she might miss her quiz this morning really upset her."

"Sorry, Mom," said Sebastian. "I guess I didn't think about it--it seemed like fun to me."

"I know," said Mom. "But if it's only fun for you, it's not a good joke." She unscrewed the top on the orange juice.

"So how do I know if something is okay or not?" asked Sebastian.

"One thing to do is slow down and think things through. In the Bible, God tells us to think about others instead of just ourselves. We need to trust Him to help us love others the way He loves us by considering their needs and interests. If you had stopped to think about Leigh's feelings, you might have realized pulling a prank like that would upset her."

"So is it ever okay to play an April Fools' joke on someone?" asked Sebastian.

"Sure," said Mom as Sebastian reached for the orange juice. "Just make sure they're having as much fun as you."

Sebastian tried to pour some juice into his cup, but nothing came out--it was frozen solid!

Mom beamed at him. "April Fool!" They both erupted in laughter.

–Courtney Lasater

How About You?
Do you like to play jokes on people? Pranks can be fun, but they should be fun for everyone involved--not just those playing the joke. If the prank you want to pull seems like it could be hurtful or upsetting to the other person, stop! Trust God to help you make loving decisions by thinking about how your actions could affect others. When you play a joke, make sure it's fun for everyone.

Today's Key Verse:
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (NKJV) (Philippians 2:4)

Today's Key Thought:
Think of others first

Dead or Alive

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:1-10; Romans 1:20-23

"Is not!" Santiago's voice rang throughout the house.

"Is too!" Aria shouted back at her older brother.

"Don't be so narrow-minded!" said Santiago crossly. "When you're older, you'll learn more about the world and find out you're not always right."

"Well, Dad's older than you, and I'm sure he agrees with me!" Aria said, crossing her arms. She turned to her father, who was just coming into the room. "Santiago's been learning about different religions, and he thinks they're as good as ours," she said.

"I didn't say that!" protested Santiago. "But you should be willing to listen to other people and think about what they say instead of being so sure you're the only one who's right."

"Well, I learned a verse in church that says no one gets to heaven except through Jesus," said Aria. "Isn't that right, Dad?"

Both of them looked at their father expectantly. "Yes, Aria," said Dad. "The Bible is very clear that Jesus is the only way to eternal life."

"But some of the religious leaders we've been learning about in school were really good people," said Santiago.

"It may seem that way, but think about this," said Dad. "Has your teacher told you about Mohammed's tomb? Or Buddha's grave? You could visit the places where those men are buried, right?"

Santiago shrugged. "I guess so. I could visit the tomb where Jesus was buried too."

"If you visited each of those graves or tombs, what would you find there?" asked Dad.

Aria smiled. "You wouldn't find anything in Jesus's tomb, just like when Mary and the disciples saw it on Easter morning. But those other graves aren't empty."

Dad nodded. "Aria's right, Santiago. Jesus died to pay the price for our sins, but then He rose again so all of us can have eternal life. The men you're learning about may have been very smart teachers--in fact, many of them mimic the teaching of Jesus. But not one of them took our sins upon himself, died to take our punishment, and then came back to life to save us. Those men are still dead. If you choose to trust in anyone other than Jesus, you are choosing death, not life."

–Lore Wolif

How About You?
Do you know the difference between Christianity and other religions? Christianity is the only one that has a risen Savior. The leaders that started every other religion are dead, but Jesus is alive! He died, but He rose again. The only way to have eternal life is to trust in Him. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page or go to www.keysforkids.org/goodnews.) On this Easter day, praise God for a living Savior!

Today's Key Verse:
[Jesus said,] "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (NKJV) (John 14:6)

Today's Key Thought:
Only Jesus brings life

Canyon Echo

Bible Reading: Romans 10:13-15

"Yum! Those hamburgers smell really good!" exclaimed Isla as her mom turned the meat on the grill. "I'll call Dad and Evelyn. They said they'd stay close enough to hear us." The family was camping in a mountain canyon, and Isla's dad and sister had gone to collect some firewood while Isla and Mom got their meal ready.

Isla faced the high cliffs opposite the campsite, took a deep breath, and loudly shouted, "Yoo-hoo!"

"Yoo-hoo!" came back to her, clear as a bell.

"Supper!" yelled Isla.

"Supper!" was the immediate response.

Isla looked a little puzzled, then she grinned as Dad and Evelyn walked into the campsite. "When I heard 'yoo-hoo' coming from the other side of the canyon, I thought you were answering me, Evelyn," she said with a giggle. "But I knew you weren't calling me to supper. It was my own echo."

"So you got acquainted with the friendly echo that lives on the canyon wall," said Dad with a smile.

"Echoes don't live on canyon walls," said Evelyn. "They're made by sound waves bouncing back to us so that we hear the sound again." She grinned. "Now, can I please have a hamburger? I'm starving."

After supper, Evelyn joined Isla in talking with the canyon echo. Finally, Isla called, "Good night," and then she listened as the echo repeated the message. "Echoes are fun," she said.

"Did you know that we should be echoes too?" Dad asked.

"What do you mean?" asked Evelyn. "How can we be echoes?"

"Well," said Dad, "when God speaks to people today, they don't actually hear a voice. His words are found in the Bible--it tells us who He is, how much He loves us, and what Jesus did to save us. But since not everyone reads the Bible, Christians need to be echoes of God's love and truth in the world. We can do that by telling people about Jesus and showing the same love to others that He showed us when He died to pay for our sins."

"So we're like God's echoes," said Isla.

"Amen!" Dad said loudly--and they all listened quietly as the answering "Amen" wafted back from the canyon wall.

–Trudy VanderVeen

How About You?
Are others hearing about Jesus as you echo the love and truth of God's words to us in the Bible? Think about your own life--how did you learn that Jesus loves you and died to save you? Was it echoed by parents? A teacher? A friend? Most people don't know about Jesus until someone shares God's message with them. If you know Jesus, be an echo for God so others can hear the good news.

Today's Key Verse:
Before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about him. And for anyone to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. (ERV) (Romans 10:14)

Today's Key Thought:
Be an echo of God's love

A Free Gift

Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:8-9

Cillian was so excited. Nice weather was finally here, and he was big enough to ride a bike with real gears! He got on the bike Mom bought last year at a garage sale and pedaled down the street. Then he tried shifting gears, but his ten-gear bike wouldn't shift out of third gear. He sadly returned home. Mom had agreed to buy the bike, but all repairs had to come out of his savings.

"Mom, it's busted. The bike doesn't work. It won't shift."

Mom knew of a bike shop not very far from their home. She loaded the bike into their van and they headed to the shop. When they rolled the bike in, the shop worker asked what was wrong. Cillian explained, feeling very anxious. He didn't have a lot of money saved up--what if it was too expensive to fix? What if it couldn't be fixed? But within two minutes, the bike mechanic adjusted a cable and all the gears shifted perfectly.

"What do we owe you?" Mom asked.

"Nothing!" the mechanic said.

"Are you sure?" Cillian was skeptical. "No one does anything for free."

"Your thanks is enough," the mechanic said, smiling.

"Well then, thank you!" Cillian said.

As Cillian and Mom drove home, Cillian was overjoyed. "I can't believe it," he said. "Nothing on earth is ever free!"

"Well, there is one thing," Mom said. "And it's the best thing."

"What's that?" asked Cillian.

Mom smiled at him. "When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He paid the price for our sins. He offers us the free gift of eternal life with God. And it's free for us, because Jesus paid for it! If you had told the mechanic you didn't want the free gift he gave you, you would have had to pay him for fixing your bike."

"And I probably don't have enough money," admitted Cillian.

"Just like we would never have been able to afford the cost of our sins," said Mom. "So we accepted the free gift."

"Of course," said Cillian. "We would be crazy not to!"

–Vicky Kaseorg

How About You?
If someone offered you a free gift, would you take it? When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for our sins by dying the death we deserved. We can choose to accept His gift of dying in our place, or we can turn Him down and not have eternal life with God. What will you choose? (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:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV) (Romans 6:23)

Today's Key Thought:
Eternal life is free

Humpty Dumpty Words

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:29; James 3:2-10

"I don't want to see you again until you give me my mitt back!" shouted Adrian. "Don't ever come in my room again!" He slammed the door as his brother left the room.

"What's all this yelling about?" asked Mom, coming down the hall.

"Adrian says I stole his baseball mitt, but I didn't," replied Sawyer angrily. "He's a liar."

Mom rapped on Adrian's closed door. "Adrian, come out here. I want both of you to follow me." She led them to the back porch. There, on a bench, lay Adrian's mitt. The boys immediately began yelling, each accusing the other of leaving the mitt there.

Mom held up her hands, and the boys got quiet. "Both of you, follow me." This time she headed for the kitchen. She took an egg from the refrigerator and placed it on the counter beside an empty bowl. "Sawyer, crack this egg into the bowl." The boys gave her a puzzled look, but Sawyer obeyed. "Now, Adrian," said Mom, "put that egg back into the shell again--just the way it was."

Adrian frowned. "You know I can't do that. You can't fix a broken egg."

"Like Humpty Dumpty, right?" said Mom. "Our words are a lot like eggs sitting on a wall--once they've fallen and broken apart, we can't put them back. You both said some ugly things to each other, and taking words back is as impossible as mending an egg. The Bible says the tongue can be like a fire, causing a lot of damage when out of control."

Adrian crossed his arms. "Sometimes the words just come out when I get mad. How am I supposed to keep the egg from cracking?"

Mom walked the egg shell over to the compost bucket and dropped it in. "God gives believers a Helper--the Holy Spirit. Through Him we have the power to do difficult things, like tame our tongues. We can trust Him to help us when we are struggling to love others."

The boys stood and looked at each other for a minute.

"I'm sorry for what I said," Sawyer finally mumbled.

"Me too," replied Adrian.

"That sounds like a great start," said Mom. "I'm going to pray that God will help us all love each other the way Jesus loves us. Now, who wants scrambled eggs?"

–Dean A. Fowler

How About You?
Are you careful about the words you speak, or do they sometimes get away from you before you think? It's good to say you're sorry when that happens, but it doesn't totally undo the damage the words may have done. That's why it's important to trust God to help you speak in a kind, loving way. He will help you control what you say so your words reflect the love of Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up. (NIV) (Ephesians 4:29)

Today's Key Thought:
Think before you speak
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