Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Doing It for a Friend

Bible Reading: Mark 2:3-12

Kelvin sighed as he picked up a big box. "This room is full of stuff."

Mom wiped sweat from her forehead. "And we need to get it all moved to the garage. Theresa and her kids will be here soon."

Kelvin and his mom had been struggling since his dad passed away, and he had been surprised when Mom told him that her friend was going to move in with them for a while.

Kelvin made a couple of trips to the garage, then he dropped to the floor in the still-messy guest room. "I'm tired."

"Me too." Mom leaned against the wall. "We can break for a minute."

"Why are we doing this?" Kelvin asked.

"Because Theresa had a fire at her house," Mom said. "She and her kids can't live there anymore."

"I know that, but why do they have to come here? Aren't there other places they can go?"

"She's my friend, Kelvin," Mom said. "We help our friends when they're in trouble." Mom knelt on the floor. "I'll tell you one quick story, then we need to get back to work. When Jesus was doing miracles, some men came to bring their friend to see Him. Their friend couldn't walk, so they had to carry him to the house."

Kelvin looked at his mom. "They carried a grownup?"

Mom nodded. "When they got to the house, it was too full to get inside. Instead of leaving, they climbed onto the roof with their friend and made a hole in the roof."

Kelvin's eyes widened. "They took him on the roof?"

"They lowered him down through the hole," Mom said. "And Jesus healed him. The men did everything they could for their friend, showing him the kind of love that God shows us. Jesus laid down His life for us, and when we make sacrifices for our friends like He did, we show them His love." Mom stood up. "And now we need to get this room cleaned and set up for Theresa's family so I can be a good friend and show her God's love."

"We should get back to work, huh?" Kelvin got to his feet. "At least we don't have to carry people or climb onto any roofs."

Mom smiled. "Right?"

–Emily Acker

How About You?
Have you ever done something big for one of your friends? Maybe you helped them with homework when you wanted to be playing instead, or you helped them with chores even though you didn't have to. That's the kind of love Jesus showed His friends. He died for our sins so we could be His friends forever, and He'll help you make sacrifices for your friends too.

Today's Key Verse:
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. (NLT) (John 15:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Friends help each other

Bent, Not Broken

Bible Reading: Romans 8:31-39; 2 Corinthians 12:9

The wind blew through Georgia's hair as she and her uncle paddled their canoe among the reeds that filled the marshes near her new home. She didn't feel like paddling. Her mom had died of cancer four months before, and now she and her little brother were living far from home with Uncle Steve. The bayou, as Uncle Steve called it, looked like a swamp--nothing like Georgia's home in Michigan.

Georgia watched the marsh reeds bend under the force of the strong wind and muttered, "I know how you feel."

"What did you say, Georgia?" asked Uncle Steve, who had been doing more than his fair share of paddling for the last half mile.

"Oh, nothing. I was just thinking how those reeds and I have a lot in common." Georgia sighed.

"How so?" asked Uncle Steve.

"Well, they get blown around wherever the wind wants. They don't get any say in what happens to them." She sighed again. "Just like me."

"You know, Georgia, I think you're right. You do have a lot in common with these reeds. But not in the way you think. Look a little closer," urged Uncle Steve as he paddled them over to the reeds. "What do you notice?"

Georgia studied the cluster of reeds. It was true that the wind blew them around, sometimes switching directions abruptly. But no matter how hard the wind blew, the reeds just bent over and popped back up.

"They aren't breaking," observed Georgia. "As soon as the wind stops, they straighten back up again. But that's not like me at all. I feel like I'll never pop back up."

Uncle Steve stopped paddling. "There's a verse in Isaiah that says, 'A bruised reed He will not break.' Georgia, no matter how much the hardships of this life may bend you, you can hang on to the promise that you don't have to break because God loves you and offers you grace, peace, and hope. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins so that you could have the promise of eternal life and never have to face life's troubles alone. In times when it seems like you'll never pop back up, trust Him to hold you up so you won't break--just like these reeds."

–Laura Kuehn

How About You?
Are you going through a hard time right now? Do you feel like a reed getting bent over? Remember God's promise to you--no matter what you face in life, He will be with you. Because of His great love for you, He gave His Son, Jesus, so you would never be alone. No matter how hard the winds may blow, you can trust Him to be with you and hold you up.

Today's Key Verse:
A bruised reed He will not break. (NKJV) (Isaiah 42:3)

Today's Key Thought:
Trust God to hold you up

Give It a Try

Bible Reading: Psalm 34:3-8

"Wanna come to church with me this week, Finn?" asked Tobin, who was at his cousin's house for the day. "We're studying the life of Jesus in my Sunday school class, and I think you'd really like it!"

"Nah," muttered Finn. "I don't like church."

"How do you know?" asked Tobin. "You've never been there."

"I just know I won't like it, that's all. Let's go see what's for dinner." Finn led the way to the kitchen, where he peered over his mother's shoulder. "Salmon patties, yum!"

Tobin frowned, then felt embarrassed when he realized his aunt had noticed.

"Don't you like salmon patties, Tobin?" Aunt Kim asked.

Tobin shook his head. "No, not really."

"Have you ever eaten one?" asked Aunt Kim. Again Tobin shook his head.

"Then how do you know you don't like them?" asked Finn.

Tobin shrugged. "I just know, that's all."

Finn rolled his eyes. "Salmon patties are so good! But hey, if you don't want any, I'll eat yours."

"Before you do that, I think Tobin really should try one," said Aunt Kim.

"Yeah, give it a try," said Finn. "You might like it, Tobin."

Tobin started to protest but then stopped abruptly. "Okay, you win," he said, grinning. "I'll try a salmon patty."

"All right!" Finn gave him a fist bump. "I know you're gonna like it."

When they sat down to dinner, Tobin hesitantly cut into his salmon patty. He put it in his mouth and chewed slowly. "Not bad," was his verdict. He eagerly ate the rest. "I think I'll have some more!" Aunt Kim smiled and passed him the patties.

"You know, this reminds me of a verse I learned at church," Tobin said as he helped himself to another patty. "It says, 'Taste and see that the Lord is good.' The Bible tells us that when we get to know Jesus, He'll show us how good He is and how much He loves us. That's why I love church--it's a place to learn more about Jesus with others who have seen His goodness and love too." He grinned at his cousin. "Well?"

Finn looked at him thoughtfully. "Okay, I get what you're saying," he said. "Mom, can I go to church with Tobin this week? I want to give it a try."

–Barbara J. Westberg

How About You?
Have you ever turned down invitations to go to church because you thought you wouldn't like it? If you already go to church, do you pay attention and learn all you can about Jesus? Next time, give it a try! Listen to the lesson and songs and think about them. If you have any questions, ask them. Once you start learning about God and how much He loves you, you just may find you want to know more and more!

Today's Key Verse:
Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him! (CSB) (Psalm 34:8)

Today's Key Thought:
Let God show you how good He is

Hit and Run

Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11

"Oh no!" groaned Jonas as he and his mom stood looking at the dent in their car. "What happened?"

"Apparently someone backed into the car while we were shopping, but whoever it was didn't leave a note saying they did it." Mom sighed. "Well, there's nothing much we can do about it, but I suppose we should make a police report."

After the report was made, Jonas and Mom hurried home to tell Dad about the accident. "Well," Dad said as he went out to look at the car, "I'm thankful it's just a car that's damaged--nobody got hurt." He examined the dent in the fender. "This isn't major damage, but body work can be quite expensive. I'll call the insurance company--I'm pretty sure they'll cover it."

"I hope so, but it still doesn't seem fair," said Jonas. "The person who backed into us should pay the bill. It was their fault."

"I know, Jonas, but we can't make them pay when we don't know who they are," said Mom. "So if insurance doesn't cover it, we'll just have to take care of it ourselves."

"What? That's not fair at all!" said Jonas. "It makes me mad. We shouldn't have to pay when it's not our fault. Whoever hit us shouldn't just get away with it."

"No, and if we end up having to pay for damages that are someone else's fault, I can't say I'll be happy about it," said Dad.

"Me neither," said Mom. "But it's not good to drive around with a big dent in the car."

"Tell you what," said Dad. "When we feel annoyed that somebody is getting away without paying, let's remember that we don't have to pay for everything we deserve to pay for either. Jesus willingly paid the price for our sin by dying on the cross, even when He knew who was at fault--us!"

"That's right," said Mom. "So let's not spend our energy being angry about this dent. We have so much to be thankful for--nobody got hurt, the damage to the car is minor, and above all, Jesus paid the price for our sin so we wouldn't have to!"

–Hazel W. Marett

How About You?
Would you be angry if you had to pay for something that wasn't your fault? That's natural. But just think--that's exactly what Jesus did for you! He loves you so much that He died to pay the price for your sin so you could have eternal life with Him. If you haven't trusted Him as your Savior, do it today and He will cover the cost of your sin so you don't have to. (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:
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV) (Romans 5:8)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus paid for your sin

Always Listening

Bible Reading: Psalm 66:19-20

"We're leaving in five minutes, everybody. Let's get moving!" Dad called from the garage.

Hunter, already packed and ready hours ago, bounded in through the back door. "Mom, Mom! Guess what I found outside!"

But, distracted with her preparations, Mom didn't seem to hear. She bent over the cooler she was trying to organize and, frowning, pulled out a box of graham crackers. "That certainly doesn't belong in here…and neither does this…"

"Mom, listen, in the backyard there's this…" Hunter paused, realizing his mother wasn't paying attention. "I know you're busy, but this is really cool!"

Mom blinked. "Hmm? Hunter, if there's something you need, you can go ask your sisters. I still have so much to do." She glanced at the clock on the wall. "Oh, look at the time!" And with that, she hurried away.

Hunter found his sisters in the next room. "Hey, Addy, Katie, guess what I saw in the backyard!"

But the girls seemed to be preoccupied with their own business as well.

"Addy, do you have my coloring book?" Katie asked her twin.

"Well, yes, but--"

"Oh, there it is. Let me have it."

"Guys?" Hunter interrupted. "Don't you want to hear?"

Addy ignored Hunter and scowled at her sister. "It's not your coloring book anymore. Mom said I could have it since you never used it."

Katie jumped to her feet. "What? That's not fair! Give it back!"

"Nuh-uh! Mom said it's mine!"

"We'll see about that. Mom!" Katie stormed out with Addy close on her heels.

Hunter sighed in disappointment. "Isn't there anyone who wants to hear what I have to say?"

Then he remembered the one person he could always go to when he wanted someone to talk to. Closing his eyes and folding his hands together, Hunter prayed. "Jesus, I haven't been having a very good day--no one seems to have time for me. But I know you're always there and always want to listen. You know what I found today? A robin's nest with two little blue eggs in the tree next to the window. I'm going to keep watch every day so I won't miss it when they hatch!"

–Eliana Canfield

How About You?
Have you ever wanted to talk to someone who wasn't available to listen? It can be disappointing when our family or friends don't have time for us. But the greatest friend of all, Jesus, always listens to our prayers. He loves it when we talk to Him! Next time you want someone to talk to, share your thoughts with Him, the one who always listens.

Today's Key Verse:
Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. (CSB) (Isaiah 65:24)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus is always listening
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