Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Who Does It Hurt? (Part 1)

Bible Reading: Romans 14:7-13

Hattie lay on her bed in the dark, thinking about Uncle Dale. He was in the hospital, badly hurt. He might even die. "Cleo," she whispered, "are you asleep?"

"No," came the answer from the other bed. "I wish Mom and Dad would get home from the hospital."

"Dad said the driver of the other car was drunk." Hattie's voice broke. She sobbed softly. "It's not fair! Uncle Dale might die, and that other man is walking around perfectly okay."

When their parents finally arrived home, the girls were still awake. Dad came and knelt between their beds. "First," he said, "I want you to know that Uncle Dale is doing a little better. And I met the driver of the other car tonight. He's very sorry and upset."

"Well, he should be," said Cleo. "That man should be put in jail--forever!"

"He may have to go to jail," said Dad. "He told me he was a Christian, but--"

"I don't believe that!" Hattie interrupted.

"He said his friends talked him into drinking tonight," Dad continued. "He could have chosen not to drink and drive, but he didn't. Now he's very sorry, but he can't take back what happened. He knows he deserves to be punished."

"No Christian would do what he did," said Hattie.

"Christians sin, Hattie," Dad reminded her. "We all do things that are wrong, and people are affected by our actions whether we like to think so or not."

"I guess that's true," said Cleo. "Remember when my friend Sophie didn't want to come to Bible club with me at first? She said it was because Christians weren't any different from other people. She knew some Christian kids who lied and cheated on tests and did stuff like that just as much as other kids did."

Dad nodded. "Our sins don't just affect us--they affect others too. Sometimes they hurt someone else directly, like what happened to Uncle Dale when that man decided to drink and drive tonight. Other times they hurt others' perception of what it means to be a Christian. The good news is that Jesus promises to forgive our wrongs and help us do what's right. The next time you're tempted to do something you shouldn't, think of who else it might hurt besides you. Then trust God to help you make the right decision."

–Alyssa Liljequis

How About You?
Do you think your sin isn't hurting anyone? Every time you do something wrong, it affects others. Things like drugs, drunkenness, and stealing can ruin whole families. But things like lying, cheating, and laughing at others cause deep hurts too. Whenever you're tempted to do something wrong, trust God to help you do the right thing so your actions won't hurt others or yourself.

Today's Key Verse:
None of us lives for ourselves alone. (NIV) (Romans 14:7)

Today's Key Thought:
Your sin affects others

Too Much of a Good Thing

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1

Devin was playing on his tablet when it suddenly went dark. "Mom," he called, "my time ran out. Can I please have more time? I want to finish building my defenses."

"Sorry, Devin," Mom answered. "You've had enough time on the tablet today."

"Please, Mom!" Devin begged, but Mom quietly shook her head no. Devin sighed. "Fine," he said. "I'll go see what Ellery's doing."

Devin found Ellery in the kitchen and quickly sneaked one of the delicious-looking deviled eggs she was making before she could stop him. As he started to swallow, he gagged on the egg and spit it out in the sink.

"Hey!" Ellery cried. "Don't be mean. I worked hard on those eggs."

"No, Maddy, I'm serious!" Devin exclaimed. "You try one." Ellery tried one and quickly spit hers out too. "They're so salty! I followed the recipe though. It said to put in a quarter cup of salt."

Devin looked at the recipe. "Ellery, you read it wrong. It only takes a quarter teaspoon of salt. No wonder they're so salty!"

The kids looked at each other. "Dad needs one!" They brought an egg to Dad, who eagerly took a bite, but couldn't swallow it. Then Ellery produced a bowl and a glass of water from behind her back, and Dad quickly spit the egg in the bowl and took a long drink of water.

After the kids' giggles quieted down, Dad said, "Devin, this egg reminds me of your conversation with Mom earlier. Just like the right amount of salt enhances the flavor of the eggs, your games can enhance your life and help you learn. But with too much salt, the eggs were ruined, and too many games on your tablet can be harmful to you."

"So it's possible to have too much of a good thing?" asked Devin.

Dad nodded. "Jesus loves us and set us free from sin, and He wants us to enjoy good, fun things in our lives. But we need to do them in moderation. If they keep us from doing other good things, like caring for others and spending time with them, it's too much. It might not look the same every time, but you can pray about it and ask God to help you make good decisions about how you spend your time." Dad winked. "And your parents are happy to help too."

–Myrical Barton

How About You?
When you find something you enjoy, do you spend all your time doing that one thing? God wants you to enjoy fun things in your life, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing. If something is causing you to neglect your responsibilities or your relationships with God, family, or friends, it's too much. Ask God to give you wisdom and to help you do the things you enjoy in moderation.

Today's Key Verse:
You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. (NLT) (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Today's Key Thought:
Do things in moderation

Caring for Chipper

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

Lilly loved volunteering at the animal shelter with Granddaddy in the summer. Chipper was her new favorite rescue dog. Every Saturday they came to walk, bathe, feed, and play with him.

Lilly brushed the knots out of Chipper's fur. "Hold still, Chipper!" she said. "There. He's ready for his bath. Do you have another dog treat?" Lilly asked her grandfather.

"Oops, they're all gone. Let me find some more," Granddaddy said.

Lilly hoped Granddaddy could find more treats. She thought about her empty fridge at home.

Granddaddy returned with a small bag in his hand. "Found some."

"Oh good. I don't want him to starve." Lilly's stomach rumbled.

"Sounds like someone else is hungry," Granddaddy said as he put Chipper into the bathtub.

"I'm okay." Lilly sighed. She remembered Mommy said they wouldn't have much this month. Mommy had to work two jobs now that Daddy left. Would they have everything they need?

"Did you know that God takes care of all the animals, even Chipper?" asked Granddaddy. He smiled at Lilly's questioning look. "God gives the birds worms to eat. He gives them trees and barns to live in. And he gave Chipper you!"

"He did. I love Chipper so much!" Lilly said as she rinsed the suds out of Chipper's fur.

"Did you know God loves you even more than you love Chipper?"

"He does?"

"He sure does. God gave us His Son, Jesus, so we could be saved from sin, and He wants to take care of you. I know things have been hard this month, Lilly. But don't worry. God gave you Mommy and me to take care of you because He loves you. God also gives us people who help by bringing food to share with others, like at church and food pantries."

"God gave us people to share their food?" Lilly turned off the water.

"That's right! He takes care of us because He loves us so much."

Chipper jumped out of the bathtub and shook. Water flew all over Lilly and Granddaddy.

Lilly laughed. "And I love taking care of Chipper!"

–Jennifer Wilson

How About You?
Do you worry about having everything you need? Maybe a parent has lost a job or your parents divorced, and things are tough. If you know Jesus, God is your heavenly Father, and He promises to take care of His children. God provides for our needs in many different ways, such as through family and friends, people at church, and even places like food pantries. If you have a need, talk to God about it. Then trust Him to provide for you.

Today's Key Verse:
Don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. (CSB) (Matthew 6:34)

Today's Key Thought:
God takes care of us

Sweet but Sinful

Bible Reading: Romans 3:21-24

Several old picture albums and many loose photographs were scattered over the living room floor. "I'd like to rearrange our albums with captions above the pictures," explained Mom when Greta and Marnie asked what she was doing. "You can sort these photos and see if you can come up with something to write about them."

"Okay." Greta reached for a picture. "'Lifeguard blows whistle at Marnie' will be great for this one. This was the time we were at the beach and the lifeguard yelled at you for disobeying the rules, Marnie. Remember?"

Marnie rolled her eyes and picked up another photo. "Look at this picture of our Thanksgiving dinner last year. The food looks yummy!"

"The caption for that could say, 'Give thanks for food--if there's any left,'" said Greta with a grin. "I remember you tried to grab the gravy before anyone else and it splattered all over the floor." She picked up another photo and laughed. "Look at this one, Marnie. You're pouting in this snapshot. We could call it--"

"Will you stop bringing up all the bad things I've done!" Marnie said angrily. "You're no angel yourself, you know. In fact, you can really be a pain sometimes!"

"Well, none of these pictures remind you of bad things about me," Greta said smugly.

"That's because you're two-faced. You smile for the camera so everyone thinks you're so sweet and good, and then you do something bad when no one's looking!"

Mom picked up two photos. "In these pictures I see not one but two sinful little girls."

"Mom! Those are our baby pictures," said Greta. "You can't find anything bad about a baby."

"You look sweet enough," Mom agreed. "But every single baby is born a sinner--no one is better than anyone else. The Bible says we're all sinners from the moment we're born." She looked at the girls. "It doesn't matter what you see in any of these pictures--the Bible is the only thing you need to look at to know you're both sinners. But the Bible is also a picture of God's love for you. Jesus died for our sins so we could be saved, and He doesn't take snapshots of the bad things we do. Whenever we do something wrong, we can confess our sin and He will forgive us."

–Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Do you ever think you're not as sinful as someone else? The Bible says we're all equally sinful--we've all chosen to follow our selfish hearts instead of doing what is good. But sin can be forgiven through Jesus Christ, who died to take the punishment we deserve. Have you admitted that you're a sinner and trusted Jesus to forgive you? If not, do it today! (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:
There is no one who does what is good, not even one. (CSB) (Romans 3:12)

Today's Key Thought:
Everyone has sinned

Just Like Dad

Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10

One day when Nathan and his dad were shopping, an elderly man walked up to them. "Excuse me," the man said. "My name is Bill Cook. I've been watching the two of you, and I can't help but notice how much both of you look like someone I went to school with years ago. His name was Nathan Nobel. Are you related to him?"

"That's my name, and my dad's too!" Nathan grinned. "Dad is Nathan Nobel Jr., and I'm Nathan Nobel the third," he added proudly. "But you look too old to have been in school with my dad."

The two men laughed. "Nathan, I think this gentleman is talking about your grandfather," explained Dad.

Mr. Cook nodded. "I just knew you must be related," he said after they had talked a few minutes. "Your boy here, with his red hair and freckles, looks very much like Nate did in grammar school. You both walk and talk like him too."

After Mr. Cook left, Dad smiled at Nathan. "I consider it a real compliment to have been recognized as my father's son," he said. "I've always admired my dad very much, and I guess I've copied his ways more than I realized. I'm really proud to be just like Dad."

"Yeah--that was amazing!" Nathan said. "Mr. Cook hasn't seen Grandpa in years, and yet he recognized how much we were like him."

Dad looked at him thoughtfully. "There's someone else we should be like, Nathan," he said. "The Bible says we should be imitators of God. People watch our actions and hear our words, and they should be able to tell that God is our Father."

"But God is perfect, and He can do all kinds of miracles," Nathan pointed out. "We can't be exactly like Him."

"That's true," said Dad. "But if we remember that we're God's children and that He's given us the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and make us more like Jesus, it will help us show His love, forgiveness, and kindness to others. Then some people will say, 'There goes a child of God.'"

–Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Have you ever been told that you look, sound, or act like one of your parents? Can people also tell by watching you that you're a child of God? If you do and say the same things Jesus would if He were on earth today, others will recognize you as one of God's children. Trust Him to help you show others the love of Jesus so they will be able to tell that you are God's child.

Today's Key Verse:
Be imitators of God as dear children. (NKJV) (Ephesians 5:1)

Today's Key Thought:
Be like your heavenly Father
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