Fun Mummy Family Devotional

A lot of kids go through a phase when they are fascinated with Egyptian history. Who doesn’t love mummies and pyramids? There are actually quite a few stories in the Bible that take place in Egypt or involve Egypt in some way. Why not encourage your kids’ fascination and teach them some Bible along the way?!

Making your own mummy does require a few special ingredients you need to gather before the devotional. You will need a lot of salt and enough sodium carbonate (look in the laundry section or online) and baking soda, so that when the three ingredients are mixed, they will cover the object you are mummifying. The ratios are one part salt to two parts sodium carbonate and two parts baking soda. For example, if you use ¼ cup of salt, you will need ½ cup sodium carbonate and ½ cup baking soda.

As far as what you will mummify, you can try apples, a piece of chicken or a small fish like a sardine. It’s important to remember that while the “mummy” will look dehydrated when finished, it is no longer edible.

Grab your kids and remind them of the stories about how Joseph ended up in Egypt and how his father and brothers eventually joined him. You can find some of these stories in Genesis 42-50. Point out that when Jacob and Joseph died in Egypt, they both wanted to be taken home and buried in the family tomb. At the time, Egyptians were mummifying bodies, which also made them easier to transport and kept them like the mummies your kids have seen in museums or photos, rather than just becoming a pile of bones.

Jacob’s body was carried back and buried in the family tomb shortly after it was mummified. Joseph’s body on the other hand stayed in Egypt about 400 years until the Israelites escaped under Moses. One of the things they took with them when they left Egypt was the mummified body of Joseph!

Explain to your kids a little bit about mummification from a children’s book or website. Tell them they are going to make a mummy of something other than a person. Help them safely mix the ingredients and cover the “mummy” with them. A Tupperware type of container often works best. It will take several days to mummify, depending upon local humidity, etc. You can check on its progress periodically, but make sure to recover it if it needs more time to continue the process.

As you wait for your mummy to mummify, you can use the time to check it each day and talk about other stories that involved Egypt…including the time Jesus lived there as an infant. The goal is to connect Egypt to the stories in the Bible in their minds. Then whenever they see an Egyptian exhibit, their minds will go back to the Bible stories and the lessons learned from them. It’s a great way to tie something they may see periodically to memories of the Bible. The mummy or anything from Egypt will now act as a cue to bring up those Bible memories. (Just like a rainbow reminds many Christians of Noah.)

Have fun with it! Let your kids’ curiosity spark studying other cultures in the Bible, too. It’s a great way to connect secular and biblical history.

4 Reasons Your Kids Should Memorize Scripture

Yesterday in worship service, I had to smile. The sermon was based on the passage John 1:1-14. I knew it well. Why? Because my third grade Bible class teacher had us memorize it and several other long passages of scripture.

Scripture memory used to be common a few decades ago. It weakened a bit in generations after that when scripture memory work was limited in many cases to reciting just one verse (called a memory verse). It wasn’t as helpful because many kids looked at it for a few seconds then repeated it. Close enough was good enough for most teachers and the verses never made in to the long term memories of children. Now, it is the rare Bible class teacher that even asks students to memorize any scripture at all. It’s considered boring and therefore, thought to add no value to their spiritual growth and development.

Actually, the truth is that scripture memorization is a critical part of spiritual development. It doesn’t matter how easily they can look up a verse on their phones. Having it stored permanently in their brains provides benefits a Bible app cannot give.

  • Memorized scripture gives your kids immediate knowledge of what God wants them to do when given a choice. Your kids will have to make many choices during their lives in a split second. They won’t have time to do a Google search for applicable scriptures and read them in their Bible app. Having important verses memorized gives them immediate access to the information they need to make a godly choice.
  • Memorized scriptures serve as constant reminders of God’s promises, principles and commands. When your kids have thoughts rolling around in their heads, memorized scripture can provide some helpful input. For example, if your kids are thinking about how unpopular they are, memorized scriptures about God’s love can remind them they are indeed loved – no matter how it feels at the moment.
  • Memorized scriptures can make it easier for your kids to encourage others and share their faith. When a peer asks a question about life or God or needs encouragement, your kids will already have ideas of what they can say stored in their brains. Adults may patiently wait while you search for answers in the Bible, but your kids’ friends want some wisdom in the moment. Your kids can provide wisdom beyond their years by quoting the appropriate scriptures (or at least a summation of them).
  • Oldest memories stick with us the longest. Robot’s Law states that early memories are less likely to be lost than more recent ones. Other studies have found memories that are regularly reinforced stick with people the longest. Translation? Getting your kids to memorize and then regularly repeat key scriptures means those will be the last memories to fade as they age. Want your kids to have God’s words on their hearts for their entire lives? Start them on scripture memory early. It’s why many Christians tell stories of relatives in late stages of dementia who can still sing church songs and quote scriptures from memory.

Scripture memory work doesn’t have to be boring. Many verses have been made into songs. Singing them together over and over can cement those scriptures just as well as standard memorization. Plus the tune can serve as a trigger to bring those memories flooding back later. Take the time and effort to help your kids memorize scripture. It’s a great gift to give your kids.

4 Gift “Getting” Skills Your Kids Need

Christmas and birthdays can prove challenging to kids. Almost everyone has that one relative who means well, but for some reason always buys the gift your kids are sure to hate. As a Christian, you don’t want them to lie, but you don’t want to hurt sweet Auntie Jane either. Or, maybe your kids have turned gift getting into a full time job…leveraging opportunities for more gifts that would put any Wall Street tycoon to shame!

Let’s be honest. Gift getting is a parenting minefield. Teaching your kids these four skills, however, can make gifting a lot less hazardous (and hopefully more godly) in your home.

  • Teach your kids to expect nothing. Gift getting problems often begin when expectations aren’t met. When the focus is on building expectations, gift getting is in danger of becoming an exercise in greed and entitlement. If your kids can learn to expect nothing, then anything will be a pleasant surprise.
  • Encourage your kids to express gratitude for everything. It’s important to teach them that “their truth” isn’t necessarily “the truth”. Just because they think the sweater from Aunt Jane is ugly or that books make horrible gifts, doesn’t mean the sweater actually is ugly or that books make bad gifts. It is merely their opinion and does not need to be shared with the gift giver. Neither should your kids lie and say a sweater they think is ugly is beautiful. Rather, teach them the art of expressing gratitude for the love, time and effort the person put into choosing the gift for them. Or to find some aspect of the present they like and thank the person for that. Socks may not be their favorite gift, but “Thanks! Those socks look like they will really keep me warm!” is an honest expression of gratitude. Those thanked in person don’t necessarily need a thank you note, but gifts received in the mail or through a third party should be appreciated with a call or note to the giver.
  • Help your kids share their blessings. Whether it’s giving a sibling a turn playing with their toy or passing on toys, books and clothes they have outgrown to others, your kids should focus on at least a balance of receiving and giving. All getting and no giving makes for a very selfish child.
  • Teach your kids to acknowledge all of their blessings are from God and regularly thank God for those blessings. Establish a pattern of thanking God for everything – not just foods at mealtime. Every good thing does come from God and should be appreciated as a blessing. Prayers should always contain an element of gratitude.

Don’t forget, you need to model what you teach to your kids. Grateful, appreciative parents often raise grateful, appreciative children.

3 Gifts Your Kids Need From You This Christmas

It’s only a few days until Christmas. Your kids have visions of new bikes, games, dolls or whatever they asked to receive as presents. There are three gifts, however, they didn’t think to add to their lists. Gifts that are the absolute best gifts you could give them.

The first gift your kids need from you is a large amount of quality time. Time where your focus is on them, not a device. Time when you listen as they tell you whatever is important to them….no matter how silly or unimportant it may seem to you. Time when you mentor rather than lecture. Time when you teach and coach them how to be who God wants them to be. Time to have fun and just enjoy being together.

The second gift your kids need is that you live out Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19 as if their very souls depend upon it.”Impress them on your children (God’s commands). Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Your kids need you to do what’s in this verse every single day. They need you to do this so they can develop a strong faith foundation.

The third gift your kids need from you is to see you live your faith daily. They need to see how being a Christian makes you different from other parents and other people. They need to see you showing love to everyone…even your enemies. They need to see you obeying and worshiping God. They need to see you love reading your Bible and value praying to God. They need to see you have the character traits God wants His people to have. They need to see you serving others, being generous and sharing your faith with everyone you meet.

Your kids will recover if you couldn’t find the toy they wanted for Christmas. They won’t fare as well, however, if they don’t get these three critical gifts from you.

Tips for Helping Kids Open Their Gifts From God

Kids love presents. There is something exciting about tearing off beautiful wrappings and finding a surprise meant only for you. Your kids may not realize God has given them gifts, too. You’ve probably taught them everything they have is a gift from God, but have you taught them about the personal gift or gifts God has given them?

When discussing gifts, many churches focus only on the spiritual gifts given to Christians mentioned in Corinthians. Often those conversations are more confusing than helpful…especially to young people who haven’t been baptized yet. What churches often miss is the discussion on the more concrete and easy to understand gifts or talents God gives everyone to use to serve Him.

When the Tabernacle was being built, there is an interesting passage in Exodus 36 about some of the craftsman involved. It seems God gave certain people gifts or larger portions of gifts needed to build the Tabernacle. It’s these gifts of talent that are easiest for your kids to understand. We know from the parable of the talents that each of your kids has at least one gift from God to use in serving Him. Your mission as a parent is to help your kids discover, develop and find ways to use those gifts to serve God.

Since the first task is opening or discovering those gifts, what are some good ways to do that? Here are some of our favorite tips.

  • Observe your kids carefully. What do they like to do in their free time? What do they like to read about? What lessons are they begging to take? What raw talent are they already exhibiting? Often the talent God gave a child is obvious from an early age. There seems to be an inborn passion for using that talent and even small children can show the beginnings of talents. Watching your kids carefully can give you clues to their possible talents. (Note: Not all interests and passions are tied to actual talents.)
  • Think outside the box. Most people think of talents as obvious ones like artistic or musical talent. After they have gone through the list of those half dozen talents, they assume no talent is present. Intelligence, organizational skills, and other less obvious talents are also from God and need to be developed and used to serve Him. You can search for our past blog posts with a long list of these gifts.
  • Give them opportunities to experiment. Give gifts of kits that allow kids to experiment with different gifts in a rather affordable way. Many craft stores and places like Home Depot are known for offering free or low cost classes that allow kids to try out possible talents.
  • Encourage them to read about their interests. Your public library probably has books on a variety of topics to let your kids explore by reading about more complex talents before investing large amounts of money in lessons or resources. If your child is fascinated with glass blowing, for example, reading a book may help him or her understand whether actually blowing glass would be something they might really enjoy and have a talent for doing.
  • Take them to demonstrations. Some talents are regularly demonstrated. Back stage tours can help your kids see the work involved in developing and using a talent. Many art shows, historic and educational sites and specialty trade shows like cooking shows have live demonstrations. Often those observing are allowed to ask questions. Most demonstrators love answering the questions of kids and may even let them experiment.

Helping your kids discover, develop and use their talents to serve God is one of the most fun parts of Christian parenting. Spend some time this year helping your kids unwrap their gifts from God.