Keys for Kids Devotional Feed


Really Free

Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:4-9

As Cypress sat down at the kitchen table to eat breakfast, an advertisement on the cereal box caught his attention. "Free gift!" he read. "Turbo power race car! See details on back." Cypress turned the box around so he could see the back. "Mom, look! I can get a turbo power race car for absolutely nothing! A car like that costs at least twenty dollars at the store."

"Let me see that package," said Mom. "That offer sounds too good to be true." She studied the information about the car. "Cypress, did you notice what you need to include in the online order form for this car?"

"No," said Cypress. "What?"

Mom pointed to the small print on the box. "You need to upload receipts showing that you purchased four boxes of cereal this month. And you also need to pay a shipping and handling fee so the car can be mailed to you."

"What!" Cypress reached for the cereal box and read the words on the back. "After buying the cereal and paying for shipping, you'd probably be spending more than you would if you bought one of those cars at the store. That doesn't sound free to me!" Disappointed, Cypress put the cereal box away.

"When something is offered for free in cases like this, there's often something to buy first or some other requirement," said Mom.

Cypress sighed. "I guess people have it right when they say if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Mom sat down at the table next to Cypress. "Well, that generally is the case. But I do know of one offer that also sounds too good to be true, and the gift really is free."

"It is?" said Cypress. "What is it? Have you gotten it already?"

"Yes, I have. It's the gift of salvation--the gift of eternal life," Mom replied with a smile. "It's free to anyone who trusts Jesus as their Savior."

Cypress grinned. "I guess I should have thought of that. Since I trust in Jesus, I've already gotten that free gift too!"

"It's a gift anyone can have," said Mom. "Now, let's thank the Lord for our breakfast and for His free gift of eternal life."

– Dawn E. Maloney

How About You?
Do you like gifts? A gift is something that's free--you can't earn it or buy it, but you do need to receive it. Jesus offers us the gift of eternal life--He paid the price for it by dying on the cross for our sins. Have you received that gift? Trust in Him today and accept the gift He's offering you. (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:
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV) (Romans 6:23)

Today's Key Thought:
Salvation is free

Puppy Love

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:11-12; 1 John 5:1-3

Aurora's new puppy wriggled in her arms. "I'll call him Duke!" she announced.

"Duke has a lot to learn," said Dad. "You'll need to train him by rewarding him when he's good and disciplining him when he's bad."

Aurora laughed as Duke licked her face.

"He won't be bad. I'll love him so much that he'll want to be good. You'll see. Duke will be the best dog in the whole world!"

But Duke was not a good puppy. He dug up the flower bed and chewed on shoes. He didn't come when he was called. Aurora scolded and disciplined, but Duke went right on getting into trouble. "When I scold Duke, he acts like he's sorry," Aurora said one day. "So then I pet and hug him. But he turns around and does the same bad things all over again. Can't he see how much I love him? Why does he keep on being bad?"

"Sometimes it takes a long time to train a puppy," Dad said. "I'm sure Duke will learn eventually. But you know what? You and I have a lot in common with Duke."

"What do you mean?" asked Aurora.

"When you got Duke, you said you were going to love him so much that he'd want to be good for you, remember? Instead, he gets into a lot of trouble--and we're often that way with God. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us by dying for our sins, and He is teaching us to obey Him as His children. Yet we still go our own way and do things we know we shouldn't do."

"So we have to learn to obey God, just like Duke needs to learn to obey me?" asked Aurora.

"Right," said Dad. "Even though we still sin and make mistakes, God is patient with us and always forgives us. He corrects us when we're wrong and teaches us to obey Him and show His love to others."

Aurora picked up her squirming puppy and looked him in the eye. "Don't worry, Duke. I still love you, and I'll help you learn to obey me. And you'll help me remember how much God loves me!"

– Deborah S. Marett

How About You?
Are you an obedient child of God? He loves you so much and wants only the best for you. He sent His own Son to die for you so you could become His child. Do you love Him? Then obey Him as your heavenly Father. Trust Him to help you live in a way that shows His love to others. When you mess up, confess your sin to Him. He will forgive you and patiently teach you to do things His way instead of your own.

Today's Key Verse:
If you love Me, keep My commandments. (NKJV) (John 14:15)

Today's Key Thought:
God teaches us to obey

A Kite in the Breeze

Bible Reading: John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

One breezy afternoon, Dad took Alena and Theo to the park to try out their new kites. "My kite will fly higher than yours," said Theo, looking proudly at his bright yellow kite with dark blue borders.

"We'll see about that!" said Alena, tossing her red and white kite into the air. Theo quickly tossed his kite into the air too, and soon both were aloft.

For a few minutes the kites sailed across the sky, flying higher and higher. "Go, kite! Go!" called Theo. "Show 'em that you're the best." He grinned and yelled triumphantly when Alena's kite suddenly plunged to the ground. "See! My kite's the king of kites!" Theo declared. But a few moments later, his kite joined his sister's on the ground.

"Some king you got there!" said Alena.

Theo grumbled as they went to pick up the fallen kites. "What happened? Why isn't my kite flying anymore?"

"You were so proud of your kite that you forgot what makes it fly," said Dad.

"The wind does," said Alena. "The air is very still now--there's almost no breeze at all. That's why our kites won't fly." She grinned at Theo. "You forgot about the breeze, didn't you?"

"I guess so," said Theo. "I thought a super-good kite was all I needed, but I need a super-good breeze too."

Dad nodded. "Lots of people make the same mistake you did, Theo."

"They do?" Alena was surprised. "I thought everybody knew you needed wind to fly a kite." She looked at her brother. "Except Theo, that is."

Dad smiled. "Theo forgot that kites need wind--and who created the wind?"

"God did," said Alena.

"Right," said Dad. "God provides the wind kites need to fly, and He provides the strength and abilities we need for everything we do too. We often forget that God is the one who gives us power for even the simplest things."

Theo nodded thoughtfully. "Yep. Even breathing in and out," he said.

"And those who trust in Jesus have been given even greater power," said Dad. "We have the power of the Holy Spirit, who helps us do good and love others. Because of the good work He does in our lives, people can see that we belong to Jesus."

– Tanya Ferdinandusz

How About You?
Do you ever feel like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to? Don't forget that you're powerless without God. He created everyone and gave us the abilities we have--without Him, none of us would be able to do anything! And He's the one who empowers Christians through the Holy Spirit to show others His goodness and love. Thank Him for all you're able to accomplish each day.

Today's Key Verse:
[Jesus said,] "Without Me you can do nothing." (NKJV) (John 15:5)

Today's Key Thought:
God gives power for all you do

Salty Christians

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:13; John 3:16-17; Colossians 4:2-6

"This sure is a good breakfast, Grandma," said Nathan, taking another bite of ham and eggs. "I love this ham you fixed!"

"Well, thank you," said Grandpa.

Nathan grinned. "Sounds like you're taking credit for Grandma's cooking."

"I'll take partial credit, and Grandma can have the rest." Grandpa grinned. "I cured this ham, and it's very good, if I do say so myself."

"You cured it?" Nathan's eyes twinkled. "Was it sick?"

Grandpa laughed. "I think you know that curing a ham refers to the process of preparing it so that it doesn't spoil and has a delicious flavor," he said as he took another slice of ham. "But did you know that you're supposed to be like this ham?"

"Be like the ham? Me?" Nathan looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"One main ingredient in the curing process is salt. It helps keep the ham from going bad and gives it flavor," Grandpa explained. "And in the Bible, Jesus calls believers the salt of the earth."

"Does that mean we're supposed to keep the world from going bad?" asked Nathan. "How are we supposed to do that? It seems pretty bad already."

"Yes, the world is full of pain and problems because people sin," said Grandpa. "When we look at all the hurt and hatred in the world, things can sometimes seem hopeless. But they're not hopeless, because Jesus died and rose again to save the world from sin. As Christians, we need to flavor the world with the hope of Jesus. We need to let others see His love in our lives and point them to Him. That's what it means to be the salt of the earth."

Nathan smirked. "So, we need to be salty Christians?"

Grandpa chuckled. "In a good way, yes. We need to trust and follow Jesus in everything we do and not follow the way of the world. Jesus said if salt loses its flavor, it's not good anymore. It's tasteless. That's why we need Him to fill our lives with the delicious flavor of His goodness and love."

Nathan nodded. "Grandma, can you please pass the milk? This ham is making me thirsty!"

"Why do you think that is?" asked Grandma, reaching for the milk.

"Because of the salt," answered Nathan. "Popcorn does that too." He paused. "Hey! I get it! If we're salty Christians, we make others thirsty for Jesus!"

– Mary Rose Pearson

How About You?
Are you a salty Christian? Are you flavoring the world with the hope of Jesus? Are you sharing His love with those around you? When others see His goodness in your life, it can make them want to know Jesus too. Trust Him to help you keep your salty flavor as you go out into the world so others will be thirsty for Him.

Today's Key Verse:
You are the salt of the earth. (NKJV) (Matthew 5:13)

Today's Key Thought:
Be a salty Christian

No More Weights

Bible Reading: Matthew 11:28-30

"Ainsley!" Mom's voice was stern. "I told you it's time to eat!"

Ainsley hurried to the table. She had noticed her mother wasn't as patient as she used to be before Dad left. And she always looked tired and sad. "I'm sorry," Ainsley said as she took her seat. "I'm not very hungry." Her voice trembled as she hurried on. "I'm worried about how we'll live until you find a job, and about doing better in school so you'll be happier. I've been trying to clean up after myself so you won't have to yell." Tears slipped down Ainsley's cheeks. "I worry that Dad won't come back after the separation."

Mom sighed. "I worry too. But that doesn't excuse the way I've been treating you." She got up and gave her daughter a hug. "I'm sorry, Ainsley--I didn't mean to put all that on you."

"Anybody home?" interrupted a loud, cheerful voice from the kitchen door.

"Uncle John!" Ainsley jumped up to greet her favorite uncle--then pointed to his wrists and ankles. "Why are you wearing those things?"

"You mean my weights?" Uncle John held up his arm for her to see better. "I'm getting in shape for the marathon, so I wear these when I run. It helps me build strength," he explained. "But you can be sure I won't wear them for the race!"

After a short visit, Uncle John left to continue his workout. "I can't imagine weighing myself down like that," Ainsley said as she watched her uncle disappear around the corner. "Running is hard enough without those weights."

"I agree," said Mom. She put her arm around Ainsley. "I think you and I are wearing weights too, but our weights aren't helpful like Uncle John's. I think our hearts are getting tired from all the worry we've been carrying around."

Ainsley sighed. "Too bad we can't take our weights off like Uncle John can."

"But ours can come off too," Mom said. "Jesus tells us to give our worries to Him, and I'm wondering why I've waited so long to do that. Let's pray right now and ask Him to carry these weights for us. He loves us and promises to take care of us, and we can trust Him to help us in this situation."

– Nance E. Keyes

How About You?
Is your heart heavy with worries about family, school, or money? Does it seem like there's no solution to the problems you face? You need God's help. Go to Jesus whenever you feel burdened by something that's happening in your life. He cares. He took the weight of our sin upon Himself so He could offer us rest, and He will help you with whatever is troubling you. Give your burdens to Him--big or small--and He will carry them for you.

Today's Key Verse:
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (NLT) (1 Peter 5:7)

Today's Key Thought:
Give your problems to God
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