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Keys For Kids Ministries Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

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


Pasco, WA


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




Keys for Kids Ministries 2060 43rd St SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508 (616) 647-4500


Batter Up!

Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1; Isaiah 40:31; Galatians 6:9 Every day after work, Dad would walk to Spencer's school and together they'd walk home, past the city baseball park. On Fridays the ballpark was bursting with noise from a city baseball game. Spencer wanted to see what was happening, but a tall wooden fence blocked the view. "Can we go in, Dad?" Spencer asked one day. "The game's almost over now," said Dad. "Let's wait until we can see a whole game." Then Spencer noticed something. "I can see second base through this knothole." From another knothole, he could see third base. "But now I can't see second base anymore. No fair!" Then Dad said, "There's a bigger knothole up ahead. Go check it out." Spencer ran to it. "Dad! The batter just made it to second base!" "Can you see home plate?" "No," Spencer said, disappointed. "I can still only see part of the action." "Knotholes are like that," Dad said. "When I was a kid, your grandpa used to tell me that life is like a knothole." Spencer made a face. "What does that mean?" "It means we only see what's right in front of us, even though we may wish we could see more--like during the pandemic when my company shut down. I was worried, but I didn't need to be because God could see what lay ahead." "So, it's like God sees the ballgame from inside the ballpark," said Spencer. "Yes, but even better than that, because He already knows how it will end. God had a better job waiting for me, but more importantly, He promises to make everything better one day. Jesus died and rose again so we could live with Him forever in a world free of sin and death." As they continued walking, Dad said, "Hey, next Friday I get off work early. I'll buy tickets and we can actually go to the game." Waiting a whole week was hard for Spencer. But when the day came, it was just like Dad promised. They saw the game from beginning to end from good seats as they feasted on hot dogs. "Was it worth the wait?" Dad asked. "Totally. Tonight we had God's view, sort of." Dad laughed. "That's right. And one day we'll have the best seats in heaven's ballpark. No waiting, no charge." Spencer grinned. "And no knotholes!" -Teresa Ambord How About You? Does not knowing what the future holds ever make you feel worried or anxious? We all feel that way sometimes, but God alone knows the future. Our job is to trust Him. Jesus promises to help us through any difficulties we face and to one day make everything right. His plans for us are good. Give your worries to Him as you wait for the wonderful future He has promised. Today's Key Verse: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (NIV) (Psalm 27:14) Today's Key Thought: Wait on the Lord


A Gentle Approach

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:23-25 Gracie sat down on the couch next to her mother. They both laughed as three-year-old Maggie chased their new kitten around the living room. "Come here, Kitty! Come here!" Maggie yelled, holding out a treat, but the kitten darted away. Gracie sighed. "Mom, I don't know what to do about Andrea. She always complains about her grades, but she hardly ever does homework. I finally told her to stop whining and spend more time studying. She got upset, and now she won't talk to me." "I'm not surprised," said Mom. "But why?" asked Gracie. "I'm just trying to help!" "Yes, but if you said it to her the way you did just now, it probably didn't sound like help. She may have felt it was an attack." Just then Maggie joined them with the unaccepted cat treat still in her hand, crying in frustration. "Gracie, why don't you show Maggie how to give the treat to the kitten?" said Mom. "Okay." Gracie took her little sister by the hand and showed her how to approach the kitten in a gentle, non-threatening way. "Move slow and speak softly," Gracie said. Crouching low, she quietly called the kitten and showed him the treat. He slowly came closer and finally felt comfortable enough to take it. Maggie sat on the floor and petted the kitten while Gracie returned to the couch. "Good job," said Mom. "You needed to approach the kitten gently. And that reminds me of your problem with Andrea. Can you think of a way you could do that with her?" Gracie thought for a moment as she watched the kitten. "Well, I could ask her to forgive me for the way I talked to her," she said. "And, um…I can offer to help her with homework and help her study before our tests." "I think that's a great idea," Mom said. "The Bible tells us a soft answer calms anger. Remember that since you trust in Jesus, you can always respond to others with love and gentleness because you have the Holy Spirit inside you. Trust Him to help you use a gentle approach with Andrea. When she sees how much her friendship means to you, I think your problem will be solved." -Sarah Vile How About You? How do you respond to people when they say or do something you don't like? Harsh words often stir up anger and lead to arguments and hurt feelings, but a gentle approach can smooth things over and help prevent a fight. When you feel like snapping at someone, trust God to help you be considerate of their feelings and respond in a patient, gentle way instead. Today's Key Verse: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NKJV) (Proverbs 15:1) Today's Key Thought: Say things gently


A Name That Fits

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 10:9-10 "Look, there's a ladybird!" cried Olive. Jocelyn dropped her doll on the grass and looked up at the sky. "Where? I don't see any birds--or a lady either! Besides Mom, I mean." She smiled at her mother. Olive laughed. "A ladybird isn't a bird--or a lady." She pointed to a small red and black creature crawling its way up the stem of a plant. "That's a ladybird." Jocelyn stared at it. "That's a bug!" She placed her hands on her hips. "Why is it called a ladybird when it's not a bird at all? That doesn't make any sense!" She shook her head and picked up her doll again. "Most people around here call it a ladybug," said Mom. "That name fits it better, doesn't it?" "Yeah, I guess," said Olive. "My teacher calls it a ladybird, but she moved here from England, and sometimes they have different names for things there." "I can think of another creature with a name that doesn't really fit," said Mom. "What did Dad show you last night?" "Fireflies!" said Olive. "He said they aren't flies at all. They're beetles." "That's right," said Mom. "Sometimes people use names for themselves that don't match what they really are either. For example, we can call ourselves Christians, but that doesn't make us Christians." Jocelyn tilted her head. "But we are Christians!" "How do you know?" asked Mom. "Does saying so make you one?" "No. I'm a Christian because Jesus died for me and I trusted Him to save me, and He did!" Jocelyn confidently replied. "I get it!" said Olive. "Calling this insect a ladybird doesn't make it a bird, and calling that beetle a firefly doesn't turn it into a fly. And calling myself a Christian doesn't make me one. The only way we can become Christians is by trusting in Jesus." Mom nodded. "When we trust Him as our Savior, He forgives our sins and puts His Spirit in our hearts. That's how a person becomes a Christian." Jocelyn bent down close to the ladybird. "I'm not like you!" she declared. "You go by a name that isn't what you are. But I don't just go by the name Christian. I really am one!" -Tanya Ferdinandusz How About You? Are you a Christian? Have you recognized that you're a sinner and can only be saved through Jesus, who died for your sins and then rose from the dead? Trusting in Him is the only way you can become a Christian. Don't be a Christian in name only. Trust Him as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Today's Key Verse: As many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God. (NKJV) (John 1:12) Today's Key Thought: Trust Jesus to become a Christian


The Better Basket

Bible Reading: Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 2:10 Aubrey picked up her basket (Or what was intended to be a basket, she thought glumly) from the craft table on her way out. She'd just finished her morning classes at her weekly homeschool co-op. Now she and the other families in the group would gather at a nearby park for lunch and playtime. Aubrey looked forward to this day each week. But today felt different. As Aubrey met her stepmother at their car, she sighed sadly. "What's up, honey?" Gina asked as Aubrey tossed her backpack in the trunk. "Just look at my basket!" Aubrey said, holding up the item she'd labored over during crafts class that day. "All I had to do was weave the cord in and out of the frame. That's all I needed to do to create a basket, which I was planning to give Grammy for her birthday. But I couldn't make the cord stay in place. Look, Gina!" Aubrey's stepmom gently took Aubrey's creation in her hands and examined the cord that had slipped down to the bottom of the basket, leaving a bare, empty frame with a sloppy mess wrapped around the bottom. "Wait 'til you see Claire's! It's perfect. She's better at everything than I am." Aubrey and Gina climbed into the car and headed toward the park. "Aubrey, I know you're disappointed about your craft. But it's not true that Claire's better at everything. God has given everyone different abilities. And because you've trusted in Jesus and are God's child, you can use those gifts to build others up and point them to Him. You're better at some skills, even if you haven't discovered them yet." After parking the car, Aubrey and Gina grabbed their lunch bags and walked toward the picnic benches at the park. "I might not be good at crafts, but I'm good at other things. Is that what you mean?" Aubrey asked. "Exactly!" Gina answered. "And I wouldn't give up on crafts yet either--sometimes finding our talents requires a lot of learning and effort. Keep learning what you can in your classes and trust God to help you develop the gifts He's given you." "So, even if I can't make art, I'm still God's work of art," Aubrey concluded. Then she plopped down at the picnic table beside her artistic friend Claire. -Allison Wilson Lee How About You? Do you ever compare yourself to others and wonder why you don't measure up? God made us each uniquely with different gifts, and He also gives each of us spiritual gifts when we trust Jesus for forgiveness and begin a relationship with Him. As you grow in your relationship with God, you'll discover more about the ways He's created you--and more about how you can use those gifts to help others and point them to Jesus. Today's Key Verse: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. (NIV) (Romans 12:6) Today's Key Thought: God created us with special gifts


Fish Out of Water

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 As the small rowboat rocked with the gentle motion of the water, Andrew watched his father cast out his fishing line. "Dad," said Andrew, "I don't want to go to the new church tomorrow. All my friends are back at our old church. I know we had to move because of your job, but I'm going to miss Pastor Davis and my friends." Dad slowly reeled in his line a little and looked at his son. "I'm going to miss everybody too, but when we get settled in a new church, we'll make new friends. We still need to worship God and learn more about Him." "But can't we just have church by ourselves at home?" asked Andrew. "You could play your guitar and we could sing. Then you and Mom could teach us from the Bible." "Hold on a minute," said Dad. "I've got a bite." A minute later, he held up a small bluegill. "Looks like this one is too small to be of any use to us," he said. "What would happen if we just threw this fish in the boat and left it there?" "It would die," said Andrew. "Well, what if, instead of throwing it back, we take the fish to another lake and let it loose?" Dad asked. "Would it be able to live there?" Andrew thought a moment. "I think so, as long as we didn't leave it out of water too long." "Well," said Dad, "our family is a little like a fish that's been taken from one lake and put into another. We're in a new place, but we have everything we need to go on living--food, clothes, a home." He paused. "There's one more thing we need. We need to have fellowship with other Christians, and church is a good place to do that. If we don't go, we're a little like fish out of water." "We wouldn't die," Andrew pointed out. "No," said Dad, "we wouldn't actually die, but we'd miss an environment where we can be fed and encouraged spiritually and where we can encourage others." Andrew was silent a few moments. "Okay, Dad," he said finally. He gave his dad a little grin. "This is one fish you've convinced." -Daniel A. Burns How About You? Have you felt out of place when you've had to change churches? If you're a Christian, you're really out of place--like a fish out of water--when you don't attend church. Meeting with other Christians is an important part of worshiping God and growing in our faith. When you have to move to a different church, it may take a little time before you feel at home there, but with God's help, you can make that transition. Today's Key Verse: We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. (ERV) (Hebrews 10:25) Today's Key Thought: Worship God with others


Twinkle, Twinkle, All the Stars

Bible Reading: Psalms 46:10; 119:162-171 Jasper leaned against a tree trunk, his hands behind his head. He loved the annual family camping trips. This year they'd seen deer when they hiked in the woods. They'd explored the river gorge and found fossils, and they'd climbed some of the rocks. They'd also fished and waded in the river. Jasper sighed with pleasure. "This sure is a cool place!" It was too dark to see, but Jasper could hear the smile in his mom's voice. "You seem to be enjoying yourself in spite of no playgrounds or ice cream shops or TV or video games." "Yeah." Jasper grinned. Late that evening, the family sat contentedly by the smoldering campfire, listening to it crackle and hiss. Crickets chirped, and small creatures scurried by, rustling the leaves. In the background, the river murmured as it flowed over the rocks. "Wow! Just look at all those stars!" Jasper said as he gazed up at the sky. "We sure can't see this many stars at our house. They seem closer to us here than they do at home!" The others laughed. "The stars aren't any closer," Dad told him. "But we're out in the country now, away from all the city lights. When there are a lot of bright lights around, we can't see the light of the fainter stars." "Oh, I get it." Jasper smiled, still looking upward. "I like it here--it's peaceful. It's kind of nice to have it quiet--you can think out here." "That's one of the reasons I like to come here too," said Grandpa. "The glaring lights of the city make it hard to see the stars, and the busyness of everyday demands can make it hard to see how God is working in our lives and blessing us. It's good to get away from the daily routine." Dad nodded. "Yes, but we don't have to go camping in the country to do that. We can take a break from our busy routine each day to spend time with Jesus and concentrate on the truth and promises He shares with us in His Word." Grandpa turned on his flashlight and searched through his duffel bag. "This would be a good time to do that," he said as he pulled out his Bible. "Tonight, let's read together and talk about some things God is telling us." -Sherry L. Kuyt How About You? Is the busyness of everyday life interfering with your time with God? It's a good idea to set aside quiet time to spend with Jesus and remember what He's done for you. You don't have to go out to the country to do that. Find a place where you can take a break from your normal activities and pay attention to what God is saying as you read your Bible and talk with Him. Today's Key Verse: Be still, and know that I am God. (NKJV) (Psalm 46:10) Today's Key Thought: Spend time with God


The Right Fit

Bible Reading: Psalm 25:1-5 Kara went into the den where her parents were working on a puzzle. "I just got a text from Cadence," she announced glumly. "She told me she has a job for the summer--babysitting the Preston kids two afternoons each week." Mom looked puzzled. "You don't sound very happy about it, but it seems like a good opportunity for Cadence." "But I'd heard that Mrs. Preston wanted somebody to babysit, and I was going to ask her about it this weekend. I should have told Cadence I wanted it." Kara paused, then her face brightened. "If I text her back and tell her how much I want the job, maybe she'll let me have it." "That wouldn't be fair to Cadence," said Mom. "Just be happy for your friend and pray about finding some other summer job." "But why wouldn't God want me to have this job?" asked Kara. Then she glanced at her dad curiously. He had picked up a puzzle piece and had gotten out his pocket knife. He seemed to be considering cutting the puzzle piece. "Dad, what are you doing?" Kara asked. "I tried to fit this puzzle piece into this empty spot," Dad explained, pointing to the puzzle. "It won't go in, but if I cut off this little bump, maybe I can make it fit." "Dad! You know that won't work. Besides, you need that piece someplace else in the puzzle." Mom laughed. "I think I know what your father is trying to say, Kara. That puzzle piece represents you." "Right," said Dad. "Trying to jam this piece into a place where it doesn't fit is like you trying to get your own way about that job. Even if you succeeded, it wouldn't be a good fit because you would have hurt Cadence in order to get what you wanted." Kara sighed. "I guess you're right." Dad smiled at her. "I don't know what God has planned for you this summer, but I know His plans for you always involve caring about other people the way Jesus cares for us. Trust Him to help you be patient as you wait for another job opportunity to come along that fits His plans for you." "Okay, I'll do that." Kara grinned. "Now let's figure out where that piece really goes!" -Sherry L. Kuyt How About You? How patient are you when things don't go the way you want? Do you try to force them to go your way--even if others get hurt in the process? Don't insist on your own way when the pieces don't fit together. Be patient and wait for God to show you what to do next. He can use disappointing situations to bring you blessings and help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. Today's Key Verse: My soul waits for the Lord. (NKJV) (Psalm 130:6) Today's Key Thought: Don't insist on your own way


Your Own Way

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:9-16; Proverbs 3:1-6; Isaiah 53:6 Nathaniel gasped when he saw a quick flash of white through the trees. "A deer," he whispered. Carefully picking his way across sticks and fallen branches, Nathaniel quietly walked toward the deer. Glancing over his shoulder, he could still see his family's campsite, so he went on. When he got a little closer to the deer, it bounded off through the trees. Nathaniel ran after it, but soon it was lost from his sight. Nathaniel stopped beside a small stream. "Goodbye, Mr. Deer," he called as he turned back toward camp, but…where was camp? In one quick second Nathaniel knew he was lost. Nathaniel's excitement turned to terror as he recalled the ranger's warning about bears in the area. Dear God, he prayed, I'm scared! I know I wasn't supposed to lose sight of our camp, but I forgot. I'm sorry! Please help me find my way back. Just then Nathaniel heard a voice over the gurgling of the stream. "Nathaniel!" it called. "Nathaaaniel!" "Dad!" Nathaniel called back. He ran toward the sound of the voice, and moments later, he was in his father's arms. "Where have you been?" asked Dad. "We told you--" But the scolding stopped as Nathaniel's fears turned to tears. "It's okay, Nathaniel," Dad said, holding him tightly. At family devotions around the campfire, Dad asked, "Nathaniel, what happened when you didn't follow our instructions today?" "I got lost," said Nathaniel. "I knew I was supposed to stay close to our camp, and I didn't mean to disobey, but I just went my own way without thinking." Dad nodded. "We all do that sometimes as Christians, don't we? Instead of obeying God, we do what we want instead." "But you came and found me, Dad," Nathaniel said. Dad smiled. "Yes, and Jesus does the same for us. He came to find us when we were lost sinners, taking the punishment for our sins Himself by dying on the cross so we could be saved. And He continues to show us love and forgiveness when we disobey Him and go our own way." "I'm so glad you found me today, Dad" said Nathaniel. "And I'm glad Jesus comes to find us when we wander away." -Daniel A. Burns How About You? Have you wandered away from God's path by doing things your way instead of His? The Bible says we've all gone astray and disobeyed God, and that's why Jesus came to earth--to save lost sinners. No matter how many times you wander away, Jesus offers you forgiveness. Stop going your own way and turn back to His loving arms that are waiting to welcome you home. Today's Key Verse: For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost. (CSB) (Luke 19:10) Today's Key Thought: Jesus offers forgiveness


The Secret to a Happy Life

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:7-10; Philippians 2:12-13 Mae was lost in thought as she helped her mother put away the dishes. "A penny for your thoughts," said Mom, nudging her. "They're worth much more than that!" Mae said with a grin. "But since you're my mom, I'll give them to you for free. I was thinking of something my teacher said this morning at church. She said the only way for us--for Christians--to be really happy is to do what God wants us to do instead of doing what we want." Mae paused. "It doesn't make sense. How can we be happy if we're always doing things we don't want to do?" "I agree that if the Christian life was just a matter of forcing ourselves to do unpleasant things, it certainly wouldn't be very enjoyable," said Mom. "But what makes you think you wouldn't want to do what God asks of you?" Mae shrugged. "Well, if I'm doing what He asks instead of what I want, that means I don't really want to do what He tells me to, doesn't it?" "Let's think about that," Mom said. "When you came home from school today, what did you do?" "I went next door and helped Mrs. Grimes wash windows," Mae replied. "You've never really liked washing windows, so were you miserable doing that?" asked Mom. Mae shook her head. "No. I really like Mrs. Grimes. I did it because I was glad to help her, not because I had to. I actually really enjoyed it!" "In other words, you helped her out of love," Mom explained. "That's the real secret of a happy Christian life. If we try to serve God out of a sense of duty, we'll just feel like we're giving up the things we want to do. But when we look to Jesus as our source of joy and contentment, we can serve Him out of love and gratitude. That's what makes the difference! When we remember that His Spirit is working in us, making our desires look more like His, we can feel joy as He leads us in serving Him and showing His love to others." Mae nodded thoughtfully. "Jesus loves me and died for me, and He fills me with joy every day. I want to serve Him out of love for everything He's done for me." -Sherry L. Kuyt How About You? Are you afraid God will ask you to do something you don't want to do? Sometimes He asks us to do things that are difficult, but remember that Jesus, the source of all joy and contentment, will be with you. Because He has given you His Spirit, you can serve Him out of love for all He's done for you. Trust Him to guide you in doing the things He wants you to do, knowing that He wants to fill your life with the joy that comes from sharing His love with others. Today's Key Verse: As we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all. (CSB) (Galatians 6:10) Today's Key Thought: Serve God out of love, not duty


A Better Friend

Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; John 15:12-15 Addison sat cross-legged on the bedroom floor, surrounded by snapshots. "Look, Mom!" she exclaimed. "Here's another picture of me and Mousie. I really loved that old stuffed animal." As Addison shuffled through several old photos, her mother peeked over her shoulder. There were pictures of Addison swinging in the backyard, riding her first bike, and wearing a red Christmas dress. There were a number of pictures of her blowing out candles on birthday cakes. In many of the pictures, the little girl clutched a blue stuffed toy. "Why did you love that grubby old bear so much?" asked Mom. She laughed. "It really was a bear, you know, not a mouse." Addison grinned. "I know, but I thought he looked more like a mouse. I guess I loved him because he was a good guy to talk to. He just sat and listened." Addison could remember times when she had sobbed about her hurts into the fur of her faded blue friend. "I told Mousie all my secrets, and he seemed to understand--even though he never could tell me so or hug me back," she said as she gathered the pictures and put them into a shoebox. "We could both use a friend like that right now, couldn't we?" said Mom. "Yeah," said Addison. "It's been a little lonely since we moved here. There's a girl at school named Rani who I've gotten to know a little. I'm hoping we'll become good friends." Addison looked at her mom. "That reminds me--Rani invited me to come with her to something called vacation Bible school at her church in a few weeks. Can I go?" "I think that would be fine, once I talk to Rani's parents," Mom said. Addison nodded. "Rani told me she learns about Jesus at church. She said He's her best friend. Maybe He'll be my friend too--and yours too, Mom." She picked up a photo that had fallen to the floor and looked at it. "Maybe He's the kind of friend we can tell our secrets and hurts to," she said. "The kind of friend who understands what we're feeling. An even better friend than Mousie." -Phyllis I. Klomparens How About You? Do you need a friend--one who you can share all your thoughts with? The Bible talks about the value of friendship. And it tells about the best friend of all--Jesus. He wants to be your friend forever. He gave His life to save you and make you His friend! He wants you to tell Him about all your joys and sorrows, your hopes and disappointments. Trust Him as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Today's Key Verse: There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NKJV) (Proverbs 18:24) Today's Key Thought: Jesus will be your best friend


Sharp Words

Bible Reading: James 3:3-10 Beck was talking on his phone as he walked into the house after school. "I'm not kidding, Jake! I heard Mrs. Simpson comes to school looking all bleary-eyed because she's an alcoholic. The kids say she sometimes stumbles over her words in class, and she…" Beck paused when he noticed his dad motioning for him to hang up. "Gotta go, Jake. My dad wants me for something. Bye." Beck hung up. "What is it, Dad?" "You'll have to call Jake back and apologize for the gossip I just heard," said Dad. When Beck started to protest, Dad held up a hand. "Do you have any idea why Mrs. Simpson is having a hard time?" Beck shook his head. "I don't have her for any classes. I just see her in the hall sometimes, and the kids say she drinks a lot." "Well, you have no reason to believe that's true. The fact is that Mrs. Simpson's husband is very sick. She has to stay up many nights caring for him. No wonder she's tired." "Oh…I didn't know that." Beck looked truly sorry. "Come with me--I want to show you something." Dad led the way to the garage. At his work table, he picked up a hammer and some nails. "Pound these nails about halfway into this board." Looking puzzled, Beck pounded the nails. "Okay," said Dad, "now pull them back out." Beck did so. "Look at this board. What do you see?" asked Dad. Beck glanced at the board. "Nail holes." Dad nodded. "Words can be as sharp as nails, Beck. When you use them the wrong way, they can hurt people. When that happens, you should apologize to the people you've hurt. Hopefully, they will forgive you. But even then, you can never take back all the harm you've caused." Beck nodded. "I get your point, Dad. I'll call Jake and tell him what I said was wrong." "Good," said Dad. "I think you need to confess your wrong to Jesus too. He always forgives, and He'll help you see others the way He does--people He loves so much that He has nail holes in His hands from when He died for our sins. That's the kind of love we need to reflect in the way we speak to and about others." -Mary Rose Pearson How About You? Are you careful about the words you speak? Or do you carelessly say things that hurt the feelings or reputations of others? Remember that words leave their mark even when you apologize for what you said. The Bible says our words as Christians should not be sharp and hurtful but helpful and loving. Trust Jesus to help you see others the way He does and speak in a way that shows them His love. Today's Key Verse: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. (NKJV) (Psalm 141:3) Today's Key Thought: Think before you speak


Clear Again

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:97-105 Liam squinted at the pitcher, ready to send the ball soaring. But three swings later, he heard the umpire call, "You're out!" Liam hung his head and walked off the field. Why can't I hit the ball like I used to? he wondered. The next morning, Liam sat next to his friend Colson during Sunday school as their teacher, Miss Bryan, started the class in song. When they finished, she held up a card. "This is our new memory verse for the month. Liam, can you read it aloud for the rest of the class?" Liam squinted at the card. "You--Your word is, is…" His voice trailed off when he couldn't finish. Miss Bryan looked to Liam's left. "Colson, can you help Liam out?" Liam's face flushed as Colson read the verse perfectly. He wondered if he would ever be able to do anything right again. Miss Bryan pulled Liam's parents aside when they came to pick him up at the end of the hour. Later on the car ride home, Dad said, "Liam, we're going to schedule an appointment for you with the optometrist." "The optom-what?" Liam questioned. "The eye doctor," Mom said. "Miss Bryan mentioned you had trouble reading the verse today in Sunday school. She thinks you might need glasses, which could explain why you've been struggling in baseball." A few weeks later, Liam took his new pair of glasses out of the case and put them on. Instantly, the world came into focus. He spent the entire day moving his glasses up and down to see the difference. Everything looks so crisp! he thought. His thoughts circled back to the verse Miss Bryan had taught them: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The Bible makes things clear just like my glasses do, Liam realized. It tells us who God is and how He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us. When my way is unclear, I need to read God's Word and trust Him to guide me. "You're up!" Colson said. Liam shook himself from his thoughts, walked over to the plate, and smiled. Because this time, things would be clear again. -Olivia Summers How About You? Do you need glasses? Sometimes our way seems out of focus or fuzzy. It can happen so gradually we might not even realize it! Reading the Bible helps put things into focus. It tells us who God is and what He did to save us so we could be His children. It guides us in how to live so others can see we belong to Jesus. The next time you're faced with a difficult situation, trust God to use the truth of His Word to shine light on your path. Today's Key Verse: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (NKJV) (Psalm 119:105 ) Today's Key Thought: The Bible reveals God's truth


A Joy Like No Other

Bible Reading: Psalm 30:5; Philippians 4:4 Georgia went home crying to her sister Cecilia. "Cece, I was trying to be joyful today, but I can't! I saw how happy my friend was when she told me about her parents' anniversary. It must be easy for her to be joyful since her parents are still together." Georgia looked down, her bronze hair falling in her face. Her older sister tucked Georgia's hair behind her ear. "Yeah, I understand." Cecilia sighed and looked down at her feet. "Do you remember when you were only four years old?" "Yeah, maybe." Georgia looked puzzled. "You had so much joy," said Cecilia. "I remember one day at summer camp, the playground suddenly grew dark, and rain came pouring down. All the other kids ran underneath the playground equipment for shelter. The teachers started to get nervous as they searched for the kids. But you stayed and danced in the rain with your bright smile shining in the darkness. The kids began to come out from their hiding places and dance in the rain with you." Georgia smiled. "Oh, I guess I do remember that. I felt so much joy, even when it was cold and raining." Cecilia nodded. "And it was contagious! Having joy through trials is like being a light in the darkness, and Jesus says that being a light can lead others to Him." Georgia's face fell downcast again. "But what if I can't be happy right now?" Cecilia put an arm around her sister. "It's okay to be sad, Geo. I am too. It's just like the verse from Psalms Sister Marci read to us in church--'Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.' God knows that we may be sad for some time about Mom and Dad getting divorced, and that's okay. Just like the rain only lasts for a season, so do our trials. So long as we keep our focus on Jesus and remember that He's with us, we will experience a joy like no other. He understands our sadness and promises to dry all our tears for good one day." "You're right, Cece! I will remember to put my hope in Jesus, even if it's hard." Cecilia turned on her favorite tune and smiled. "Shall we dance?" -Toria Keyes How About You? Are you going through a trial in your life that's making you sad or depressed? Whatever struggle you're facing, whether it's a bad grade on an exam, your pet dying, or missing a friend who moved away, Jesus understands your hurt and wants to provide you with His joy and peace. Remember that He loves you and is always with you, and trust Him to fill you with His joy even when you feel sad. Today's Key Verse: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV) (Romans 15:13) Today's Key Thought: Jesus brings joy, even in trials


Who’s Right?

Bible Reading: John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 "Dad, at Declan's church they don't teach exactly the same things as they do at our church," Nicholas said one day. "We had an argument about it. Declan said his church is right, and I said ours is. Ours really is right, isn't it?" Before Dad could attempt an answer, Nicholas's little sister and brother came into the kitchen carrying a toy keyboard. They set it on the table. "Connor and me want to play one of the songs Daddy taught us," said Nevaeh. "Okay?" Nicholas laughed. "Okay." Using just one finger each, the kids began to play. As they carefully pressed the keys, Nicholas thought he recognized "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." But then it became obvious that the two youngsters were each playing a different song. "Wait a minute!" Dad stopped the little musicians. "You're not following my instructions. I said you should decide together which song to play and then come and show me how well you could do it. Go practice one song, and then come and play for us again." When the children were gone, Dad grinned at Nicholas. "That sure didn't sound the way I intended their music to turn out. But you know, this reminds me of what we were talking about. Jesus wants His children to all play the same song. Anyone who trusts in Him for the forgiveness of their sins is part of His family, and He wants all Christians to be unified--to be one." "But which song should we be playing? Whose church is right--Declan's or ours?" Nicholas asked again. "God's way is right," Dad answered. "I don't know what church Declan attends, so I don't know what his church teaches. But we obviously believe the church we go to teaches the truth of what God says in His Word. That's why we go there." "So that's what I should tell Declan the next time we argue about church differences?" asked Nicholas. "Why argue? Why don't you and Declan make an agreement to read the Bible and pray that Jesus would help you both grow in your understanding of what it says?" suggested Dad. "Trust Him to help you be in harmony as you share God's love and truth with those around you." -Katherine R. Adams How About You? Do you argue with kids from other churches? Christians don't always agree on everything, but anyone who also knows Jesus as their Savior is your brother or sister in Christ. Instead of arguing over every detail, we need to encourage each other and work together to share God's love and truth with the world. Remember that all God's children are united in Jesus, and trust Him to help you choose Christian harmony over arguments. Today's Key Verse: There is…one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all. (NKJV) (Ephesians 4:4-6) Today's Key Thought: Christians are one in Christ


Safe through the Storm

Bible Reading: Psalm 107:29; Mark 4:35-41 Kyle and Callam looked out at their backyard as rain pelted the glass. Lightning flashed and thunder crashed. "Yikes!" Callam jumped. "That was close," Kyle said as the tornado siren sounded. "Everyone to the basement!" Mom yelled. She turned on the TV downstairs to keep track of the storm. "A tornado warning has been issued for our area," the TV meteorologist said. "Go to your safe place now." "I wish Dad was here," Callam said as winds howled and objects outside hit their house. "We should pray," said Kyle. The boys and Mom held hands. They prayed for God to protect their family, friends, and neighbors. "Amen," Mom said. "Never forget, boys, that God is our shelter in every storm of life." Just then the electricity went off. Kyle turned on a flashlight. "Do you remember in the Bible when Jesus and His disciples were in a boat and a storm suddenly came on the lake?" Mom asked. Callam nodded. "Jesus was asleep, and the disciples thought they were going to drown." "They woke Jesus up," Kyle said, "and He told the storm, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then everything was calm again." "That's right," said Mom. "I know it's stormy and scary outside now, but remember that Jesus is here with us too. He saved us from sin and gave us eternal life, and He will never leave us, no matter what happens. We can trust Him to calm our fears and comfort us with His presence in the midst of life's storms." Just then Mom's cell phone rang. "It's Dad." She put it on speaker. Dad told them he was okay and would be home as soon as he could get there. "It sounds quiet now," Kyle said after Dad hung up. "Do you think we should look?" "I'll take a peek," Mom said, going upstairs. "The storm's passed," she called down to them a minute later. "Come on up." Kyle and Callam went upstairs and looked outside. Tree branches, twigs, and leaves littered the yard. "Look!" Callam pointed. "A trampoline's way back by the woods. Glad it missed our house." "Thank You, Jesus, for keeping us calm and safe through the storm," Kyle whispered. -Lynda Boucher How About You? Have you ever been scared during a storm? Strong winds, heavy rains, and thunder and lightning can frighten us. But there are other kinds of storms in life that might make us feel afraid, sad, or anxious. Whatever kind of storm comes your way, remember that Jesus is with you. Trust Him to calm your fears and give you strength. And thank Him that you never need to face storms alone. Today's Key Verse: God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. (NLV) (Psalm 46:1) Today's Key Thought: Jesus calms us in our storms


The Overdue Book

Bible Reading: Psalm 103:10-14; 1 Peter 1:17-21 Rachel groaned when she discovered a library book tucked away in the corner of her closet. I checked this out more than a year ago! she thought as she flipped through the pages. By now, the fine will be really huge. I'll never be able to pay it! She sighed. I bet Mom and Dad will be mad too. They always say I need to be more responsible. Rachel shoved the book back into the closet, but she continued to worry about it for days. Finally, just before family devotions one evening, she told her parents she had found the long-forgotten book. "I'm really sorry I didn't return it a long time ago. I would have told you before, but I thought I'd try to save enough money to pay the fine first." Rachel looked down at her hands. "I don't know if I'll ever have enough money though. The fine's probably really big by now. What should I do?" "Oh!" said her mom. "When I was at the library several months ago, the librarian asked me about that book. It was already so long overdue that it was cheaper to buy it than to pay the fine, so that's what I did." She smiled at Rachel. "I'll admit, I was pretty annoyed that you hadn't brought it back. But then I completely forgot to tell you about it!" "Whew!" Rachel breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks a lot, Mom. Just think--I've been feeling so guilty and worried, and all the time the book was paid for!" "What happened to you is a good introduction to what we'll be reading for devotions tonight," Dad said as he flipped through his Bible. "People often feel guilty for years about things they've done wrong. Just like you put off going back to the library, we might put off confessing our sin to God. Like you, we may think we need to pay the fine for our sins by cleaning up our lives and doing good things to make up for our wrongs." Mom nodded. "And like you, we'd never be able to pay that debt. We need to realize that Jesus paid the full price for our sins on the cross. All we have to do is trust in Him and receive His forgiveness." -Sherry L. Kuyt How About You? Do you feel guilty about things you've done? Are you trying to do better--to clean up your life? Perhaps you even try to do good things to make up for bad deeds done in the past. The debt of your sin is more than you could ever pay. Jesus already paid a great price--the full price--for all your sins. You don't have to feel guilty anymore. Trust Him as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Today's Key Verse: You were bought at a price. (NKJV) (1 Corinthians 6:20) Today's Key Thought: Jesus paid the debt for your sin


Who Gets the Credit?

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:5-9; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 "Morgan was in Sunday school today," Leah announced with a frown. "Why do you look so down about it?" asked Mom in surprise. "I think that's great! Didn't you invite her yourself a few times?" "That's the point," said Leah. "I've been trying to get her to come to church for three years, and she's always said no. Then today she shows up with Safiya!" "Well, the important thing is that she came," Mom said. She was interrupted by the doorbell. "That must be Grandma with those flower plants she said she'd bring over." After Grandma left, Leah and her mom decided to plant the flowers right away. "You know something, honey?" Mom said as she handed Leah a trowel. "These plants remind me of you and Morgan." "Me and Morgan?" Leah looked confused. "How?" Mom dug in the dirt as she explained. "Well, Grandma planted the seeds for these flowers and nursed them along until they developed healthy roots. Now we'll back up Grandma's efforts and care for them. And, in a way, you planted a seed in Morgan--you first invited her to learn more about Jesus at church. Then Safiya backed up your efforts by inviting her too. Right?" "I guess so," Leah said, still pouting. "But why couldn't Morgan have come when I invited her?" Mom shook her head. "I don't know. But remember, Leah, sharing Christ is not a competition. God is using both you and Safiya to reach Morgan." She paused for a moment, then asked, "Do you remember what the apostle Paul said about himself and a man named Apollos? Which one of them deserved credit for reaching the people of Corinth?" Leah scrunched up her eyebrows as she thought about it. "Actually…neither," she said at last. "They both helped, but God is the one who really deserved the credit." Mom nodded. "Yes, and that's the way it is with Morgan too. You and Safiya--and perhaps several others--are helping to reach her with the good news of Jesus, but it's God who is at work in her heart and life. He's the only one who deserves credit." -Lenora McWhorten How About You? Are you happy when people you've shared Jesus with come to know Him as their Savior--even if they respond to someone else's invitation to trust in Him? It's important to work together with other Christians in helping people know about Jesus. It's not a competition, and since God is the only one who can change people's hearts, none of us can take the credit. When anyone comes to Christ, we can rejoice together and thank God for making the seeds we planted grow. Today's Key Verse: I [Paul] planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. (NLT) (1 Corinthians 3:6) Today's Key Thought: Work together to share Jesus


Pulling Weeds

Bible Reading: Romans 6:1-2, 11-14; 8:5-6; 1 John 1:8-10 Trevor stopped working and wiped sweat from his face. Grandpa stopped too. "Gardening is hard work," he said. "Maybe we should take a break and go have some of Grandma's cookies and punch." As they headed to the house, Grandpa pointed to a single row of peas he had planted two weeks earlier. "Taking care of a garden is hard work. Weeds grow easily, don't they?" "Yeah," said Trevor. "Why did God make weeds, anyway?" "Well, they're the result of sin," said Grandpa. "We have them because we live in a sinful, broken world." He looked at Trevor. "Are there any weeds growing in your life that need to be pulled?" "You mean in our yard at home?" Trevor shrugged. "I guess there probably are some." Grandpa smiled and shook his head. "I mean in your life." "In my life? I don't get it," said Trevor. "How would weeds grow in my life?" "Not weeds like these," said Grandpa. "Weeds of sin. Farmers need to destroy weeds to keep them from taking over and hurting their crops, and we have to get rid of sinful things in our lives so they don't take over and hurt our relationships with others." Grandpa stooped to pull a tall weed. "For example, I used to let my temper take over whenever I felt angry. I hurt a lot of people's feelings and often caused them to get angry too, and I let anger and bitterness take root in my heart by holding grudges." "Really? I didn't know you had trouble with your temper." Trevor frowned. "I'm not always nice to my sister. Being unkind is like a weed too, isn't it?" Grandpa nodded. "So, how do I pull a weed in my life?" Trevor asked. "First you need to confess it to Jesus," Grandpa said. "He will forgive you and help you be the kind of brother He wants you to be. Because you trust in Him, sin has no power over you. Instead, you can live by the Holy Spirit's power and choose to act in a loving way." Grandpa sat down on a bench near the garden. "You may need to ask your sister to forgive you too." Trevor sat down next to him. "That's hard--even harder than asking Jesus to forgive me." He sighed. "But I know you're right." -Gail L. Jenner How About You? Is there a weed of sin that needs to be pulled from your life? Do you have a bad temper or a habit of disobeying? Whatever it is, God says you don't have to keep doing it. If you know Jesus, sin has no power over you. Don't let it have a place in your life. Confess your sin to Jesus and accept His forgiveness, and trust Him to help you get rid of that weed. Then ask anyone you've hurt to forgive you too. Today's Key Verse: Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. (NLT) (Romans 6:12) Today's Key Thought: Don't let sin take root



Bible Reading: Psalm 145:3; Isaiah 40:21-28 When Nolan's mom told him it was time for family devotions, he looked up from his video game. "Aw, Mom, can't we skip it tonight? I'm almost to the next level of this game. Besides, I know all that stuff. I hear it all the time at church, and I even go to a Christian school!" "Nolan," Dad called from the next room. "Turn off the game and come now, please." Nolan sighed and followed his mom into the living room. The next morning when Mom told Nolan to hurry and get ready for church, he frowned. "We probably won't hear anything we haven't heard before," he grumbled as he shuffled toward his room. A few minutes later, he was back again. "I need new pants!" he exclaimed, motioning at the pants he was wearing. "Look at these. They're getting really short." Mom nodded. "I see that. You're growing right out of them. We'll look for a new pair this week." "Good idea." Dad grinned. "I guess those pants must have shrunk," he joked. "Or could it be that you're growing taller?" He looked at his son thoughtfully. "But, Nolan, I get the feeling that you think God is like that old pair of pants." "What do you mean?" asked Nolan, looking at his dad in surprise. "Well, you've implied that you know all there is to know about God," Dad explained. "You seem to think you've outgrown Him. But the truth is you'll need a whole lifetime to learn about God--what He's like and what He does and what He teaches in His Word. Even then, you'll only know just a little. God is so great and so wonderful, we'll never know all there is to know about Him." "That's right," said Mom. "But He wants us to get to know Him better. Jesus became one of us and died for our sins so we could have a relationship with Him. As we learn more about His promises and what He's done for us, He helps us understand more about Him so our relationship with Him can grow." Nolan looked down at the pants he was wearing. "Okay. I'll pay attention in church to see what I can learn. But first I need to put on some different pants!" -Carolyn E. Yost How About You? Do you feel like you know enough about God? Do you think the Bible stories you've heard before have nothing left to teach you? You can never outgrow God. He is the great and everlasting God--the mighty Creator of the entire universe. There will always be more things to learn about Him. You can't ever know everything, but you can know Jesus as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Then let Him teach you more and more throughout your life. Today's Key Verse: Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (NKJV) (2 Peter 3:18) Today's Key Thought: You can't outgrow God


The First Tomatoes

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-8; James 1:17 "I don't see why I always have to put some of the money I earn in the church collection," grumbled Amos. He fumbled in his pocket and reluctantly took out some coins, which he set aside. "I only have a few dollars left now!" "Amos," Mom began, but before she could continue, the patio door jerked open and Vivienne dashed into the room. "Mom!" exclaimed Vivienne, holding her hands behind her back. "Guess what?" "We give up," said Amos. "What?" Vivienne flashed a triumphant grin. "Look!" She held out both hands. In each one lay a big red tomato. "My very first tomatoes are ripe already!" She looked at her brother and laughed. "I told you they were getting ripe fast, and you said they wouldn't be ready for a long time yet. But here they are!" "Wonderful!" said Mom. "They look delicious. Should we have them for dinner tonight?" "That would be great, but…" Vivienne paused. "It's just that Grandma gave me those plants, and Grandpa helped me plant them and taught me how to take care of them. I think I want to give these first two tomatoes to them." "Oh, I like that idea," said Mom. "Should we bring them to Grandma and Grandpa's house now so they can have them for dinner?" Vivienne nodded. "Yeah. I want them to be the first to taste my tomatoes!" After Vivienne went to find a bowl for her tomatoes, Mom turned to Amos. "You know, Amos, today Vivienne has been a good example of the way we're supposed to give to God. Vivienne didn't have to give her first tomatoes to Grandma and Grandpa--she wanted to offer them as a gift because she's thankful for what they did for her. That's how God wants us to give to Him--cheerfully and with thanks for all He's done for us." "Oh," Amos murmured. "I guess the money and the things we have come from God in the first place, huh?" Mom nodded. "He's provided us with everything we own, and more importantly, He's given us eternal life through His Son, Jesus. Nothing we can buy compares to the joy and peace we have in Him." Amos took a few more coins from his pocket. "I want to put these in the collection plate too." -Tanya Ferdinandusz How About You? Do you give a portion of your allowance or earnings to the Lord? Do you give it willingly and cheerfully? Remember that everything you have is God's generous gift to you. When you give to Him--to His people in need or to His work here on earth--you are only giving back what you received from Him in the first place. He's also given you the greatest gift of all--His Son, Jesus. So when you give, do it thankfully and with a cheerful heart. Today's Key Verse: Everything comes from you [God], and we have given you only what comes from your hand. (NIV) ( 1 Chronicles 29:14 ) Today's Key Thought: Give cheerfully to God