The Children's Bible Hour: Keys for Kids

Keys for Kids is a daily devotional for children.

Straight and Tall

Bible Reading: Hebrews 12:5-11

Amari watched as his dad pounded a post into the ground close to a young tree. He then began to tie the tree to the post.

"Why are you doing that?" Amari asked.

"If I don't, this tree will not be straight and tall when it's fully grown," Dad answered. He put his hand on the small tree trunk. "See how it's beginning to lean to the side? If I don't do something about that now, it will keep on leaning until it's too late to correct it."

When Dad finished the job, Amari patted the tree trunk. "Don't take it too hard, little tree," he said. "It might hurt now, but later you'll be glad you were straightened out."

"Is that how you feel when I have to straighten you out on certain things?" Dad asked with a smile.

Amari laughed. "Not really, but that's what you always tell me."

"Well, when I see you doing things that aren't very Christ-like, it's my duty to correct you and help you change your ways--just like we're helping this tree," Dad said. "When you think about it like that, aren't you glad I do that for you?"

Amari didn't answer immediately. He thought of various times he had been punished for doing something that was wrong. Sometimes he'd been grounded, or his screen time had been taken away, or he'd been assigned extra chores. It isn't any fun when that kind of thing happens, but I guess it works, he thought. At least it helps keep me from doing the same bad stuff over again.

"I don't like to punish you," Dad continued, "but if I'm going to be the kind of father God wants me to be--one who loves you enough to correct you when you're wrong--it's sometimes necessary." He smiled. "Don't forget--our heavenly Father loves us enough to discipline us too. Because Jesus saved us, sin isn't a part of who we are anymore. That's why God uses discipline--sometimes through parents--to help us grow to be more like Him."

Amari knew his dad was right. "I guess I am glad you correct me," he said. "Just don't ask me how I feel about it when it's happening!"

-Barbara J. Westberg

How About You?
How do you feel when you're punished for doing wrong things? Are you angry and resentful? Or do you recognize that someone is working to help you become a better person? God puts parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults in your life to help you grow the way you should because He loves you. Be thankful for His correction as He works to make you more like Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. (NLT) (Hebrews 12:6)

Today's Key Thought:
Be thankful for discipline