Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Edges of the Puzzle

Bible Reading: James 1:2-4; 5:7-8

Ian sighed and moved his wheelchair closer to the table. "Blaine, hang on. We have to put the edges of the puzzle together first, or else it will be harder to find where the other pieces go. Can you find some flat edges?"

"But I want to put the doggy together!" Blaine whined.

"You can, but first we have to find the edges." Ian started turning pieces over.

"But I want to put the dog together!" Blaine slouched in his chair.

"I bet I can find more edges than you," Ian said, slyly reaching for a piece.

"No! I can find more!" Suddenly grinning, Blaine began searching through the pile of pieces.

"Can I help?" Renee, the fifth of their six sisters, stopped by the table.

"No, you need to get your math problems corrected," Mom said, tapping the counter. "Come here."

Ten minutes later, the puzzle was finished and forgotten, and Blaine and Renee were outside, building a snowman with their sisters Maureen and Cecilia while Ian watched them from the patio door.

"Thank you for being patient with Blaine and keeping him occupied so I could finish correcting your sister's schoolwork." Mom noticed Ian's face. "What's the matter?"

Ian backed his wheelchair away from the door. "I just wish I could be out there with them." He looked down at the casts on his legs. "Why do my legs have to take so long to heal?"

"They have to form osteoclasts and osteoblasts and rebuild what's been broken." Mom smiled at Ian's grimace. "That's what you get when your mother was a nurse. I know it's hard, but I also know you can persevere."

"It's the persevering I'm not good at. I just get restless and irritable."

"Like Blaine. You'd rather be putting together the dog than finding the edges." Mom tapped the puzzle. "But skipping the edges would leave the puzzle unfinished. I know it's hard to be patient, but God will give you grace to get through it. Remember that He's working on a bigger picture than what we see, but we know what it will look like when it's finished--it will be perfect, and we'll never have to deal with pain or sickness ever again. Until then, Jesus will be with us through every trial and will help us be patient as He puts all the pieces of the puzzle together."

– Ellie Shirk

How About You?
Do you find it hard to be patient when you're going through something hard? Whatever it is, Jesus can help you persevere. We all go through struggles in our lives, but Jesus promises to be with us through them and to one day end our troubles forever when He returns to make everything new. Trust Him to help you be patient while He finishes the perfect picture He's putting together.

Today's Key Verse:
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV) (James 1:4)

Today's Key Thought:
God gives grace to be patient

Ding Dong Ditch

Bible Reading: Proverbs 23:22-26; Isaiah 46:3-4; 1 Peter 5:5

"Where are you guys going?" asked Brooks when he saw his twin neighbors, Anthony and Luca, coming down the sidewalk.

Luca grinned. "Come on. You'll see."

Curious, Brooks walked along with them. He was surprised when they stopped in front of the home of their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Wilson. Luca pointed at some bushes on the side of the house. "Those will make a good hiding place."

Anthony nodded and looked at Brooks. "We thought Mrs. Wilson might enjoy a few friendly rounds of Ding Dong Ditch. You know, when you ring someone's doorbell and then run and hide."

"I know what Ding Dong Ditch is," said Brooks. "And Mrs. Wilson would definitely not enjoy it."

"Aw, come on, it's just a game. And even if she sees us, she doesn't know who we are," said Anthony. "Don't be such a wimp!"

Anthony and Luca tiptoed up the porch steps. With Anthony close behind, Luca punched the bell. Then they ran for the bushes. Brooks quickly looked around and, seeing a newspaper lying on the sidewalk, picked it up and ran up the steps to the front door.

A moment later, the door swung open, and there stood Mrs. Wilson, squinting out of the dark hallway. "Yes?" she said in her quivering voice.

"Excuse me, Mrs. Wilson," said Brooks, holding out the paper. "You didn't pick up your newspaper this morning, so I thought I'd bring it to you."

"Oh, thank you!" said Mrs. Wilson. "Aren't you kind! You're Brooks, aren't you?" Brooks nodded, and Mrs. Wilson smiled. "Yes, I've seen you at church. You know, I sometimes get frustrated when this old body of mine makes it hard for me to do even simple things, but when I was having my quiet time with Jesus this morning, He reminded me that He still loves me and will always take care of me. And then He sent you to bring me my newspaper!"

Mrs. Wilson turned and saw the twins peeking out from behind the bushes. "Oh, and there's Anthony and Luca Soldano. I know your parents!" The twins' eyebrows shot up in alarm. "The next time I see them I'll tell them how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness," Mrs. Wilson said. "Kids aren't always so nice around here, you know."

"Yes, ma'am," said Brooks, glancing over at Anthony and Luca. "We know."

– Sam L. Sullivan

How About You?
Do you treat elderly people with respect? Old age comes with many hardships, but Jesus promises to love and care for us no matter how old we are. He wants you to be kind to elderly people. What can you do for elderly people you know? Maybe you can help them with chores or ask them to tell you about their lives. See how you can show them God's love and remind them that He cares for them.

Today's Key Verse:
I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (NLT) (Isaiah 46:4 )

Today's Key Thought:
Respect elderly people

Beauty or Ashes

Bible Reading: Isaiah 1:16-18; 43:25

"Harrison, the ashes from the fire we built last night haven't been emptied out yet," said Mom. "Can you take care of that? And don't forget to bundle up--it's cold out there!"

Harrison put on his coat and boots and filled a bucket with ashes from the fireplace. He hurried out the door and trudged through the deep snow to the garden. Standing at the edge of the yard, he tossed the ashes from the bucket and then watched as the wind scattered the dark soot across the snow.

Dad came and stood beside him. "Those ashes sure messed up the beautiful snow, didn't they?" Harrison nodded, and they quietly watched as the wind continued to scatter ashes across the yard.

Harrison looked up at the sky. "It's starting to snow. The new snow will cover up those dirty ashes, and then the yard will be all white and clean again. Mom will like that--she likes it when a fresh layer of snow falls and covers up the dirt."

"I know," said Dad. After a moment, he added, "Those ashes remind me of what sin does. It leaves dirty marks behind. The only way to clean them away is for Jesus to forgive our sin."

"We had a lesson about that at church," said Harrison. "When we confess our sin, God forgives us and makes us clean. A verse we learned says He makes us whiter than snow."

"Yes," said Dad. "Another verse tells us that when God forgives us, He doesn't remember our sin anymore--He doesn't ever think about it." Dad pointed to the ashes. "New snow covers up the dirty ashes, but we might still remember that they're under that fresh, clean layer of snow. And even after God forgives our sin, we often remember the blot it has made. We don't always forget it so easily."

"So what should we do?" asked Harrison.

"We need to remember than unlike the ashes under the snow, our sin truly is gone," said Dad. "Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, and when He forgives us, He makes us completely clean."

Harrison and his dad watched as the falling snow began to cover the ashes on the ground. Then they smiled at each other and made their way back toward the house.

– Trula H. Bensinger

How About You?
Have you trusted Jesus to forgive your sins? When you trust Him as your Savior, all your sins are washed away and your heart becomes whiter than snow. And though you will still sin sometimes, your sins have already been paid for by Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. When you do sin, confess your sin to God and ask for forgiveness. He will wash your sin away and never think of it again.

Today's Key Verse:
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (NKJV) (Psalm 51:7)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus cleanses you

Terrible Twos

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Ephesians 4:2-4, 32

"No!" cried Tynlee as her little brother pushed a pile of magazines off the coffee table. She sighed and turned to her mother. "What's with Bridger today? He made a mess with his food at breakfast, drew all over my math homework, and tried to drown my stuffed animals in the bathtub!"

"Some people call his age the terrible twos," said Mom. "But I prefer to think of it as the curious twos. It's an age when children are learning about the world and want to get into everything."

Tynlee grinned as she rearranged the magazines. "It must be hard having such a naughty little boy after having a perfect child like me."

Mom laughed. "You'll get a chance to see yourself at that age when Aunt Gina comes next week. She has a video she made the summer we went to her wedding. You were only two years old then."

"Oh, good," Tynlee said. "I'll make sure Bridger watches it and sees how a two-year-old is supposed to act!"

The next week, Tynlee and her family gathered around her aunt's computer to see the video. "Oh, look!" Tynlee said as the screen showed the family seated around the table. "That's me in my high chair, saying grace--how sweet."

"Look again," said Aunt Gina.

Tynlee gasped. "I can't believe it! I'm pouring milk on the floor." More scenes passed. "Why is the dog hiding under the chair?" asked Tynlee.

"You pulled his tail," replied Dad.

"Here you are dressed for the wedding," said Mom. "You did look really cute."

Tynlee smiled at herself wearing a fancy white dress with blue bows.

In the next scene, the white dress was covered with brown streaks. "Just when we were about to leave for the church, you got outside and played in a mud puddle," Aunt Gina explained.

Tynlee grinned as Bridger climbed up on her lap. "Hey, buddy. From now on, I'll be more patient with you. I can see I had a lot to learn when I was your age too."

Mom nodded thoughtfully. "That's exactly how we should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ too. We need to be patient with one another as we learn and grow in our relationship with Jesus. We all make mistakes, but Jesus forgives us and helps us learn to do better. We should be that way too."

– Ruth McQuilkin

How About You?
Do you have little brothers or sisters? Are you often critical of them? Remember that they're younger than you and need time to learn and grow, so be patient with them. How about your brothers and sisters in Christ--other Christians? Trust God to help you be patient with them too. He wants His children to love one another and help each other learn and grow.

Today's Key Verse:
Love is patient, love is kind. (NIV) (1 Corinthians 13:4 )

Today's Key Thought:
Be loving and patient

Secret Project

Bible Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Jaden took the glue his mom handed him and ran out to the shed. He worked for a while on his secret project, then ran back to the house to find his father. "Dad, can I use a hammer and nails?" Dad helped him find what he needed, and Jaden grabbed the items and ran back to the shed.

After working a little longer, Jaden made another trip to the house. "Paint," he said. "I need paint. Can I use some of yours, Maggie?" His sister agreed, so Jaden took the paint and darted out the door.

After school the following day, Jaden's friend Kwan came over. Mom set out cookies and milk for the boys. "Thank you, Mrs. Trent," said Kwan. And when it was time for him to go home, Kwan politely thanked her for letting him come.

Mom was impressed. "Kwan seems to be very polite," she said after he left.

"Yeah, he's like that," said Jaden. "He even says thank you when our teacher hands papers back to him." Jaden rolled his eyes.

"Well, that's good," Mom said. "After all, God says we should be thankful for everything. That means little things too. God has done so much for us--Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin, and He shows His love to us in so many ways. One way is through the people He puts in our lives who love us, teach us, and help us. We should thank Him for that, and we should thank other people for their kindness too."

After dinner, Jaden worked on his secret project for a little while. When he returned to the house, he was grinning. "Look," he said. "I'm finally done with my project. We learned how to make these in shop class at school." He handed out the things he had made. For Mom, there was a bird feeder; for Dad, a shoe rack; and for his sister, a jewelry box.

Jaden beamed as his family exclaimed over the gifts and thanked him warmly. Then he thought of something. "Thanks for letting me use your paint for my project, Maggie. And thank you, Mom and Dad, for the glue and the hammer and nails. I couldn't have done it without your help."

– Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Do you thank God for all He's done for you? Do you thank others for the things they do to help you? In today's Bible reading, only one man out of ten came back to thank Jesus for healing him, and Jesus appreciated it! Don't take anything for granted. Give thanks to God for all the love and kindness He shows you each day, and let the people He's put in your life know that you're grateful for them too.

Today's Key Verse:
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ERV) (Ephesians 5:20 )

Today's Key Thought:
Say thank you