Keys for Kids Ministries

Keys For Kids Ministries is a children's ministry organization, offering Keys for Kids, Down Gilead Lane, and much more.


Diligent as a Dog

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: Proverbs 6:6-11  ; Colossians 3:23-24  ; Hebrews 3:5-6  

"Did you memorize today's verse?" asked Shana. "This is the last week we can recite them for prizes."

Wilder scowled. "I hate memorizing. It's too hard."

"Don't forget to feed Bear," Mom said as she cleared the table. "Then go get ready for church."

At the mention of his name, the dog picked up his dish with his mouth and dropped it at Wilder's feet.

"Just a minute, boy." Wilder got up and went into his room. Bear picked up his bowl and followed, then again dropped it at Wilder's feet. "In a minute," Wilder said. He took a few seconds to halfheartedly study his verse. Then he went back out to put on his shoes. Once more, Bear dropped his dish. Wilder laughed. "You don't give up, do you, Bear? Okay, I'll feed you."

At church, Wilder tried to say his verse but couldn't remember much of it. The prize is probably just a pencil anyway, he thought.

But the prize wasn't a pencil. It was a trip to the city zoo, and Shana was one of the winners.

"It's not fair," Wilder said on the way home. "Shana gets everything!"

"Shana worked hard at that contest," said Dad.

"Right," said Mom. "She showed as much diligence as Bear did when he wanted breakfast."

"What's diligence?" Wilder asked.

"It's keeping at something and refusing to give up," said Mom. "Like when Bear wants breakfast or a game of fetch and keeps after you until he gets it."

"He doesn't give up," Dad said, looking at Wilder. "Why do you think it matters that we don't give up?"

Wilder paused. "Well, I know you won't say it has anything to do with the prize."

Dad smiled. "You're right. Though prizes are nice, the real joy we get out of working hard and doing our best is the reminder that we serve Jesus in all we do and He's making us more like Him."

Mom nodded. "It's not so much about what we do, but how Jesus is diligently working in us. He gives us the ability to work diligently so we can learn more about Him and how He wants us to serve others. Just like Bear knew you would put food in his bowl, we know Jesus will use our diligent work for His glory." Lenora McWhorten

How About You?
Do you give your best effort in all you do? Remember that if you trust in Jesus, He created you to do wonderful things for Him. So be diligent in the work He's given you and do your best, knowing that He's diligently working on you to make you more like Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your strength. (NLV) (Ecclesiastes 9:10  )

Today's Key Thought:
Work diligently

Eyes on the Prize

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:13  ; Hebrews 12:1-3  

Kieran watched as his uncle put a bone right in front of Trixie. "No, Trixie! No!" Uncle Stan told the puppy. "Look at me!" Trixie looked straight at her master's face, then glanced down at the bone she wanted

so much. "Trixie, no! Look at me!" The dog raised her eyes and gazed

again at her master, ignoring the bone.

"Why does Trixie have to look at you?" asked Kieran.

"If she looks at me instead of at the bone, she's more likely to obey."

Uncle Stan had Trixie sit and lie down, then he picked up the bone and gave it to her. "Trixie just showed us how we should act when we're tempted to do something wrong," he said, patting Trixie on the head. "If we're focused on whatever it is that's tempting us, it's easier to give in. But if we keep our eyes on our Master--Jesus--we're far more likely to obey Him."

"How do we keep our eyes on Jesus?" asked Kieran. "We can't really see Him."

"You played in a tennis competition a few weeks ago," said Uncle Stan. "You worked so hard to be in shape. Why did you do that?"

"I wanted to win the trophy," said Kieran. "And I did!"

"So you understand what I mean if I say you had your eyes on the prize?" Uncle Stan asked.

"Yeah," Kieran said. "I couldn't really see the trophy, but I kept thinking about it and what I had to do to win it."

Uncle Stan nodded. "We can do what God wants us to do by keeping our eyes on the prize--Jesus! But unlike your tennis competition, Jesus has already won the trophy for us. He saved us by dying for our sin, and He gives us the ability to do what's right. That's why we need to keep our eyes on Him. When we're tempted to do something we know is wrong, we need to remember that He's already won the battle against sin and that we belong to Him. That's how we resist temptation and obey Him out of gratitude for the reward He's won for us. All we have to do is look to Him." Caroline E. Yost

How About You?
Do you keep your eyes on Jesus? When you're tempted to do something wrong, remember that He's already won the battle against sin and has given you the reward of eternal life with Him. Sin doesn't define you anymore, and Jesus gives you the power to obey Him instead. Keep your eyes and heart focused on Him and trust Him to give you strength to fight every temptation.

Today's Key Verse:
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore! (NKJV) (Psalm 105:4  )

Today's Key Thought:
Look to Jesus

Plug It In

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:12-13  ; James 1:21-25  

"Mom, the toaster isn't working," said Jason. "It won't heat up."

"Is it plugged in?" asked Mom.

"Oops!" Jason plugged in the toaster. "No wonder it didn't work."

The next morning, Jason shared his toaster incident with his class at church.

Their teacher, Mr. Scott, smiled. "Jason, your story reminds me of an important truth." He picked up his Bible. "I'm sure you all know you should read your Bible every day, right?" Heads nodded. "While that's good to do, did you know that just reading the Bible isn't enough? What you read needs to be plugged into your life."

"Plugged into my life?" asked Cadence. "What do you mean by that? The Bible doesn't have a cord!"

"When something is plugged in, it's used to make a change," Mr. Scott replied. "Toasters change bread. Vacuum cleaners change carpet. When we trust in Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit, and He changes us. One of the ways He does that is by helping us understand and obey God's Word."

"So when we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit plugs it into our lives?" Cadence asked.

Mr. Scott nodded. "The Holy Spirit plugs what we read in God's Word into the lives of those who trust in Jesus and changes them to be more like Him. As you learn more and more about Jesus by reading the Bible, your thoughts and actions will be affected."

Jason raised his hand. "But what about when I mess up? I trust in Jesus, but I don't always do what He says."

"Being a Christian doesn't mean you won't ever struggle with sin," said Mr. Scott, "but it does mean that's not who you are anymore. Jesus has freed you from sin, and you can now turn away from it and obey Him instead. That's another one of the ways the Holy Spirit changes you. He reminds you that you belong to Jesus and gives you the power to obey and do what's right." Mr. Scott smiled. "When you mess up and do something wrong, admit your sin to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you. Then remember that you've been changed and can live the way God wants you to." Janice M. Jones

How About You?
Are you plugged in? You are if you trust in Jesus! Every Christian has the Holy Spirit living inside them, and He changes their hearts and makes them more like Jesus. One of the ways He does that is by helping them understand God's Word and obey it. So make sure to spend time reading the Bible, knowing that God will plug it into your life so that your attitudes and actions can reflect Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want
to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it. (ERV) (Philippians 2:13  )

Today's Key Thought:
The Holy Spirit changes you

As the Ball Bounces

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: James 4:13-16  

Trey faked to the right, then quickly changed directions and drove

to the basket for another score. "That makes it 12-2, Dad," he said,

trying not to smile.

Dad shook his head, breathing heavily. "I remember when the only time you ever beat me was when I let you win. I miss those days." He put his hands on his knees. "You look tired. Let's take a break."

Trey nodded, even though he was barely breaking a sweat. The two of them sat down under a tree.

"How's everything going at school?" Dad asked.

Trey shrugged. "Okay, I guess."

"Mom says you've been having trouble in some of your classes," said Dad.

Trey frowned and took a drink of water. "I guess I've been slacking off a bit. But Mrs. Duncan is always on my case, and Mr. Lincoln is out to get me too. They're always making a big deal out of little things."

Dad put down his water bottle. "I know you don't think these so-called 'little things' are important, but they are. It's like this basketball." He held up the leather ball, and Trey wondered where this conversation was going.

"These balls don't last forever," said Dad. "The company that makes them has even figured out how many times you can bounce them before they need to be replaced. Teams use these balls for practices and games, and before they know it, the basketballs are worn out. It's kind of like life. We make a lot of choices in life--some good, some bad. And like bounces of a ball, we don't think one or two decisions really matter in the long run. But take it from a guy who used to play basketball for hours and not get tired--life is short. And as Christians, we've given our lives--our whole lives--to Jesus. We need to rely on Him to help us make the right choices in everything we do, even in little things."

"I understand, Dad," Trey said. "I'll ask Him to help me do better at school."

Dad slapped Trey on the back. "All right. What do you say we put a few more bounces on this ball before dinner? I haven't shown you my patented spin move or hook shot yet!" Mike Dize

How About You?
Did you know that every choice you make--even a small one--is important? It's easy to think something like not doing your best at school or gossiping behind a friend's back doesn't really matter all that much. But life is short, and every choice is important. Make choices based on who you are in Jesus and rely on Him to help you do what's right, whether big or small.

Today's Key Verse:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart...In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (NKJV) (Proverbs 3:5-6  )

Today's Key Thought:
Little things matter

To Read or Not to Read

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: James 1:12-15  

Sierra shut her bedroom door and tossed her backpack onto the bed.

She set her cat, Tommy, on the floor. "Stay away from the curtains, Tommy," she warned. "You know you always get stuck in them."

Sierra flopped onto her bed and opened her backpack. After digging around a moment, she pulled out a book. "What do you think, Tommy?"

she asked. "Should I?"

Tommy didn't answer. He was staring at the lace curtain waving in the breeze coming through the window.

Sierra leaned back and tossed the book onto the bed beside her. "I know Mom doesn't want me to read these kinds of books, but all my friends read them. They can't be that bad, can they?" She picked up the book again. The cover looked interesting. She flipped it over and read the back for the tenth time. A few pages couldn't hurt.

Sierra opened the book and soon had read several pages. Then a quick movement made her jump. It was only Tommy, she realized with relief. He had pounced on the curtain. His claws were caught in the fabric, and he hung down, his full length stretched out. He was helpless.

"Silly cat, leave the curtain alone!" Sierra freed him, and he marched across the room and sat with his back to the curtain.

Sierra turned to her book again. She knew she shouldn't read any more, but soon she was engrossed again. She had finished the first chapter when a sound caught her attention.

She looked up and stared in disbelief. Tommy was hanging from the curtain again. The temptation had been too great. Sierra began to laugh.

"Tommy, you should know better, after all the times you've gotten stuck. Resist the temptation! You should--"

Sierra stopped and stared at Tommy and then at the book in her hand. Shame washed over her. She dropped the book as though it were on fire.

She loosened Tommy from the curtain again, then picked up the book and placed it in her backpack. "I'm going to return this book and ask Jesus to forgive me for disobeying Mom," she told her cat. "I don't want to become ensnared like you!" Christa Long

How About You?
Have you ever given in to temptation and regretted it later? Maybe you read something you shouldn't have or looked at bad pictures. When you give in to temptation, it's easy to get stuck. But there's good news--Jesus gives us the power to resist temptation. Confess the wrong you've done to Him, and He will forgive you and help you obey.

Today's Key Verse:
Blessed is the man who endures temptation...
he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised
to those who love Him. (NKJV) (James 1:12  )

Today's Key Thought:
Resist temptation

Be Careful, Charley!

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:1-3  

Charley toddled happily around the living room. He had just learned to walk, and it was Lacie's job to keep an eye on him while Dad was cooking dinner. He was a very curious little boy and almost always

found a way to get into trouble.

"Charley, get out of there! You could pull the whole bookcase down on you," Lacie exclaimed. Charley had begun to climb up the shelves to grab an interesting picture he wanted to see. Lacie pulled him off the shelf, and he howled in anger. She set him back on the floor and watched for his next move carefully.

He casually glanced back at his sister, then wandered over to the basement stairs. Lacie wasn't fooled, and she knew he couldn't handle going down big steps yet. She scooped him up, and again he screamed.

Lacie tried to explain what would happen to him. "Charley, if you try to do things that will hurt you, then I'm going to keep you from doing them. I know you're mad because you don't get to do what you want, but you have to learn what's good for you and what's dangerous." It didn't make a difference to Charley.

I really hope he figures out he could get hurt if he keeps this up, Lacie thought. I don't want to keep rescuing him from danger just because he doesn't know it's dangerous.

As Lacie thought about Charley's attitude, she realized she was doing the exact same thing. Not that she was going to climb a bookcase, but her father had told her several times that she couldn't get her own phone like the other girls at school. I just want to fit in with my friends, Lacie thought, but maybe Dad knows it's something I'm not ready for yet. I need to remember that Jesus wants me to obey Dad and trust that they both know what's best for me.

"I know today hasn't been fun for you, Charley," she told her bawling brother, "but thanks for helping me learn that I can't always get what I want either. I just hope I can help you learn the same thing too!" Dylan Kraayenbrink

How About You?
Do you get angry when your parents won't let you have something you want? Maybe you're upset that you can't have a smartphone, a new bike, or the latest clothes. Remember that God puts parents in our lives to help us grow and learn to obey Him, and we need to trust that they--and God--know what's best for us. Obey your parents and trust that God is using them to help you grow.

Today's Key Verse:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (NKJV) (Ephesians 6:1  )

Today's Key Thought:
Trust your parents to know best

A Son Forever

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Daily Devotional For February 02, 2018

Bible Reading: Luke 15:11-24  

Brock was sprawled on his bed with a book when Seth, his older brother, came into the room. "Hey, Brock, did you know that Dakota Smith talked with Pastor Briggs after church yesterday and decided to trust Jesus as his Savior?"

"That's good," Brock said halfheartedly. "Maybe he'll stay out of trouble now." Then he frowned. "But what if he doesn't? What happens if he sins again? I always wonder about that. Or even you--what if you sin again?"

"You mean you think I don't sin?" Seth asked with a smile. "Wow! Go on thinking that!"

"But what if you started doing things like stealing or doing drugs?" Brock asked.

"Well, when I do something wrong, that doesn't mean I'm not saved anymore," replied Seth. "I'm God's child forever."

"I don't know," said Brock doubtfully. "I'm just going to wait to trust Jesus till I'm sure I can live right."

"Brock," said Seth, "no one can live right--that's why Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We can only be good in God's eyes by trusting in Him." But Brock still wasn't sure, and Seth couldn't convince him otherwise.

A few weeks later, an older boy from church ran away from home. "Mr. and Mrs. Peterson are so upset," Mom said. "They're hoping and praying they'll hear from Caden soon."

Seth turned to his brother. "Hey, Brock, it's too bad Caden's not a Peterson anymore, isn't it?"

"What are you talking about?" asked Brock.

"Well, Caden ran away," replied Seth.

"But he's still a Peterson," said Brock. "He's still their son--they want him to come back home."

"Right," said Seth. "And just like Caden still belongs to the Peterson family, a Christian who sins still belongs to God's family. Once you trust in Jesus, you're God's child forever. Christians still sin, but when we admit our mistakes to Jesus, He always forgives us. If you wait until you're good enough to trust in Jesus, it's never going to happen. Only He is good, and once you're part of His family, He'll start working in your life to make you more like Him."

Slowly, Brock nodded. He was beginning to understand. Agnes Livezey

How About You?
Have you put off trusting Jesus because you think you can't live the way a Christian should? When you know Jesus, He forgives you when you sin and gives you the ability to do what's right. But remember that once you're born into God's family, you're His child forever. Nothing can change that. If you haven't joined His family, don't wait any longer. (See "Have You Heard the Good News?" on page 108.)

Today's Key Verse:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. (NKJV) (John 10:28  )

Today's Key Thought:
Salvation is forever