Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Teacher’s Pet

Bible Reading: James 3:13-18

"Are we going to invite Bea to our party Friday night?" Valentina asked her friend Jane as they sat on Valentina's bed, going over their party plans.

"No way! We don't want the teacher's pet at our party." Jane looked at the list. "Looks like we're inviting all the girls in our class except Bea."

Valentina put a finger to her lips. "If my parents find out, we'll have to invite Bea too. Keep it quiet, will you?" Valentina slipped the list into her desk drawer, and the girls went down to the kitchen.

Valentina's dad greeted them with a puppy in his arms. "Look what I've got."

"A puppy!" Valentina took the puppy and cuddled him under her chin. "Can we keep him? I'll take care of him--I'll teach him good doggie manners!" Then she thought of their other dog. "Has Roscoe seen him?"

Dad smiled. "No, Roscoe hasn't seen him yet, but yes, we can keep him--if Roscoe will let us, that is. Let's go see."

When they opened the porch door to go out, a collie came bounding across the yard. Suddenly he stopped and growled deeply. "Come on, Roscoe. Don't act like that," said Valentina. "This puppy wants to be your friend." The puppy whined, but Roscoe growled again. "Stop it, Roscoe!" Valentina frowned. "Why is he being so mean, Dad?"

"Because he's jealous. Roscoe doesn't want you to have another pet."

As the girls looked at each other, they both suddenly realized they had been acting just like Roscoe because they were jealous of Bea. We need to replace jealousy with love, Valentina thought, remembering a lesson she'd recently heard at church. Jesus loves us so much He gave His own life for us, and because of that, we can love others instead of being jealous of them.

"I think the two dogs can learn to be friends," said Dad. "But for now, you'd better take the puppy inside."

The girls took the puppy to Valentina's room. "I think I'll name him Shadow," said Valentina. "Here, hold him for me a minute." She handed the puppy to Jane, then pulled out the list for the party and added Bea's name. "Guess what, Shadow?" she said, patting the dog's head. "On Friday you're gonna meet all the girls in our class!"

–Barbara J. Westberg

How About You?
Have you let jealousy creep into your life? Maybe you envy someone who always has the right answers in class or a brother or sister who gets a lot of your parents' attention. If you're jealous of someone, ask God to help you see all the good things He's put in your life. Remember that Jesus died for you, and trust Him to help you replace jealousy with love. Then do something nice for that person.

Today's Key Verse:
Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there will be confusion and every kind of evil. (ERV) (James 3:16)

Today's Key Thought:
Don't be jealous

Not Finished Yet

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:9-10; Philippians 1:4-6, 9-11

"Are we going to tap all the trees today?" asked Soren as he helped Dad drill a hole into the trunk of a maple tree and insert a little pipe. "That will take forever!"

"Making maple syrup does take a long time, and it's hard work," said Dad. "But it's worth the effort."

Once all the maple trees had buckets hanging from the pipes to collect the sap that would drip out during the week, they returned to the house and Soren slumped into a chair. "In another week or so, we'll have to collect all those buckets of sap," he said. "But we won't have syrup yet! First we'll have to dump the sap into that big container and build a fire under it and boil it for a long time. By the time the water is out of the sap, we'll probably have one little pail of syrup!" He sighed. "All that work for just a little syrup. It'd be a lot easier to just buy syrup instead of making it!"

"True," said Mom. "But it wouldn't be nearly as good. We're going for quality. Keep at it and we'll be eating the best pancakes ever!"

"Do not grow weary in doing good," said Dad.

Soren smiled. "I know that Bible verse, but I don't think it's talking about making syrup."

"I don't think so either," said Dad. "But maybe we can learn something if we compare making syrup with growing spiritually. As we patiently keep that fire going under the sap, we get good results--delicious maple syrup. And as God works in our hearts, helping us get to know Jesus better and show His love to others, He brings out good results too."

Mom nodded. "As we make maple syrup this year, let's remember that God is doing similar work in us. We can trust Him to use the experiences of our lives to make us more like Jesus and grow in our relationship with Him. He isn't finished with any of us yet--He will patiently continue His work in us until the day we see Jesus face-to-face."

–Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Are you struggling in your Christian walk through life? Do you do the same wrong things over and over or wish you felt closer to God? Being a Christian doesn't mean you'll always feel close to God or won't ever struggle with sin, but Jesus promises to always be with you and forgive you. He died and rose again to save you, and He will continue His work throughout your life. He began a good work in you when you first trusted in Him, and He promises to finish it.

Today's Key Verse:
He [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV) (Philippians 1:6)

Today's Key Thought:
Trust God for spiritual growth

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


Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:32; 5:1-2; Titus 2:11-14

"See my picture!" Little Tatiana proudly showed Eden a page of scribbled lines. Red, blue, green, and yellow streaks crisscrossed the picture of balloons.

Eden laughed. "Mom's never going to put that up on the fridge. It's a mess! You don't stay in the lines."

Tatiana's lips puckered, and big tear drops crept down her cheeks. "Mommy!" she wailed and ran to find her mother.

Eden sighed as she took an orange crayon from the box and began to carefully color the stained glass window in a picture of a church. Now Mom's gonna chew me out for telling Tatiana the truth, she thought. Does she really think her pictures are good enough to put up next to mine? Eden looked at her picture carefully and chose another crayon to use. It was nearly finished when Mom walked into the room, holding Tatiana's hand.

"I came to see some pictures," said Mom. "Let me see what you colored today, Tatiana." The little girl found her picture and handed it to her mother. She beamed when Mom complimented her on the colors she had chosen.

Then Mom looked at Eden's picture. "This is very nicely done. You stayed in the lines as you colored, and like you told Tatiana, a picture is prettier when you stay inside the lines." Eden smiled and nodded as Mom continued looking at the picture. "You know, I'm so glad that when I struggle to color inside the lines in life, Jesus gives me grace."

"What do you mean?" Eden asked.

"If living a perfect life is like coloring inside the lines, I mess up a lot! But Jesus always forgives me and is helping me become more like Him. He lived a perfect life because I couldn't and died for my sins, and He helps me show love and grace to others so they can see that my life-picture is beautiful because of Him."

Eden was quiet for a moment, thinking about her mother's words and the grace she had received from Jesus too. "I shouldn't have been so tough on Tatiana's coloring," Eden whispered.

"What can you do about it?" asked Mom.

Eden smiled at her little sister. "I'm sorry, Tatiana. Would you like me to help you color another picture?"

Tatiana nodded happily.

–Lucinda J. Rollings

How About You?
What does your life-picture look like? Is it beautifully colored in with love, kindness, and patience? Or is it scribbled over with selfishness and the harsh way you judge or treat others? We all fail to color inside the lines of our life-pictures sometimes, but Jesus gives us grace. He erases our mistakes and helps us love others the way He does. Trust Him to make your life a beautiful work of art that draws others to Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (NIV) (Ephesians 5:2 )

Today's Key Thought:
Show love and grace to others

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