Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Shedding

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6, 22-24

"Good morning, Albert," Sarah said. She opened the door of Albert's cage and fed the bearded dragon a breakfast of worms and small chunks of vegetables. Her pet happily gobbled it up. As he crawled onto his hammock, Sarah saw that the scales on his face and his tail were coming off.

"Mom," Sarah called, "I hope Albert isn't getting sick. His skin is falling off!"

Mom came over and peeked in Albert's cage. "Don't worry, honey," she said. "That's natural. When bearded dragons and other reptiles grow too big for their skin, they shed. Just like how when you grow, we have to buy you new clothes and shoes."

"Is he itchy?" Sarah asked. "He keeps rubbing his face against his rocks."

"Shedding is a little uncomfortable. We can give him a bath to help."

Mom and Sarah filled a tub with warm water and placed Albert inside.

"A bath will help make the old skin soft and loosen it so it's easier to shed," Mom explained. "Soon all the old skin will be gone, and then we'll be able to see just the new skin!"

"That sounds like a verse I learned at church about taking off our old self and putting on our new self," Sarah said.

"You're right! That's just like Albert outgrowing his skin. When we become Christians, our old sinful habits don't fit us anymore because Jesus has made us new people, so we need to shed them. If a bearded dragon's shed gets stuck, that can be dangerous for him. His body is bigger and needs more space to be healthy."

"What if we get stuck in our old sin? I wish we could just wash it all away with a bath like Albert!" Sarah said.

"He might not give us a bath, but God does help us shed our sinful habits," Mom said. "He has given us His Word, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit to help us do what is right. And at church, He has given us other Christians who can encourage us as we grow to be more like Jesus."

–J. R. Kleeberger

How About You?
Do you have any old habits that don't fit who you are now in Christ? If you know Jesus, He has made you a new person, and He will help you take off your old self and make you more like Him in your words and actions. It can be difficult sometimes, but we can look to the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and other Christians to teach us and encourage us as we shed our old habits and form new ones.

Today's Key Verse:
You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (NIV) (Colossians 3:9-10 )

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus helps us form new habits

The Sparkplug

Bible Reading: Acts 4:13; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

When Micah's family got home from church and sat down to dinner, Micah didn't say a word.

"You've been quiet," said Mom. "Did something happen today at church?"

Micah sighed. "Today we were assigned parts for the church play, and I didn't get one."

His older brother Ethan chimed in. "They didn't give you a part?"

"Well, not the one I wanted! I'm in charge of set decoration. Mr. Ritter told me that he really needs me on the decorating team. But I was hoping for a more important part." Micah sighed again. "I just wish I was good at something else."

Ethan thought for a moment. "Micah, why don't you come out to the garage with me after dinner? I've been working on Mom's car, and there's something I want to show you."

When the table was cleared, the boys went to the garage and Ethan lifted the hood of their mother's car. "Mom's car was running rough, so she asked me to take a look at it," Ethan said. "There was a part that had gone bad. Can you guess which one?"

Micah didn't know as much about cars as his brother did, but he pointed to a big box that looked pretty important. "This part?" he guessed.

Ethan smiled. "Nope!" He reached over the whole engine and pulled out a tiny piece not much bigger than his finger. "This is a sparkplug," he explained. "Without these guys, the whole car stops working right."

Micah held the part in his hand. "Wow," he said. "But it's so small!"

"You know," Ethan said, "sparkplugs sort of remind me of how God uses people. The Bible tells us that people were amazed when they saw the boldness of Jesus's disciples because they were uneducated and common men. But God still used them to do incredible things! Because we're followers of Jesus who have been given the Holy Spirit, it isn't about what talents and abilities we have to offer--it's about what Jesus can accomplish through us when we trust Him to use whatever gifts we have. The gifts themselves aren't as important as trusting Jesus to help us use them for His glory."

–Emily Tenter

How About You?
Have you ever felt like you were too young or too small to be used by God? The Bible is filled with stories of people who probably felt that way too. But God still chose to use them to do mighty things! And He wants to use you too. No matter what gifts you have to offer, Jesus can use you to shine the light of His love and truth into people's lives and point them to Him.

Today's Key Verse:
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (NIV) (1 Corinthians 1:27 )

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus can use anybody

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
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