If we don't teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.

Because GOD IS MERCIFUL, He is merciful to all.

Preparation: Choose a favorite game that the family could play together when this devotion is finished. Then, use the "Mercy Card Activity" below for an unforgettable application of God's mercy.

Who do you think needs mercy and why?
  1. A bank robber
  2. A murderer
  3. A kid who gives toys to the poor
  4. A kid who lies to help a friend
  5. None of them
  6. All of them

Read the Bible Memory Verse below.

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous
in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (Psalms 86:5)
According to the Bible Memory Verse, who will God be merciful toward? ( Anyone that calls out to Him.)

God's offer of mercy seems almost too good to be true.
  • Why would anyone not want God's mercy?
  • Is there anyone who does not need God's mercy? Why or why not? (We all need God's mercy because we all sin.)

How does knowing that God is merciful make you feel about Him?
  • What did we do to earn God's mercy? (Nothing, we just need to accept it.)
  • NOTE: If you have to earn it, it is not mercy.

Jesus tells a parable (a story that is told to help teach something) about a Pharisee and a publican. Pharisees were religious leaders. Many of them became focused on obeying rules rather than having a relationship with God.

Publicans (or tax collectors) were considered traitors by their own people (the Jews). They worked with the Romans to collect taxes from the Jews, and many of them forced the Jews to give more than was required so that they could keep the extra. You and I would call that stealing!

Listen to what Jesus had to say about them in Luke 18:10-14.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Which of the two men needed God's mercy? ( Both the Pharisee and the tax collector.)
  • Who received God's mercy? (The tax collector.)
  • Why did the tax collector receive mercy while the Pharisee didn't? (The tax collector was humbled before God and recognized and admitted his sin. The Pharisee would not admit his sin and had a prideful attitude.)
  • What do we need to do to receive mercy? (Accept Jesus' payment for our sin and admit that we did something wrong.)

We all need mercy. Because God is Merciful, there is a way to receive it if we will ask.
We all need mercy, but not everyone receives it.

Thank God for showing you that you need for His mercy.
adapted from Discover God 4 Kids
PREPARATION: Choose your favorite game. It can be almost any game that can be played inside or out. Before beginning, give each player a 3x5 card or a piece of paper. On each paper write the word, "Mercy."

DIRECTIONS: Play the game as usual; however, explain that during the course of the game your "Mercy" card must be played. "Mercy" is given in order to save another player from a penalty he/she deserves. A player cannot win the game until his/her "Mercy" card is played.

HOW TO PLAY THE MERCY CARD: When a player makes a bad move or looses an important round, another player may give him/her their "Mercy" card. Upon receiving the "Mercy" card the player's "bad move" is wiped out.

For example: Let's pretend your family is playing the card game Uno. Someone plays a "Draw 4" card on you. Another player hands you their "Mercy" card. The "Draw 4" card is removed and play continues.

APPLICATION: Mercy is when someone doesn't make you suffer the consequences you deserve.
  • How did it feel to receive a Mercy card?
  • How did it feel to give a Mercy card?
  • Why would someone want to give Mercy?
  • Why would someone not want to give Mercy?

When Jesus paid for our sins on the cross He showed us what real mercy looks like. Many thought He had "lost the game" because His enemies killed Him. However, He knew that when He gave up His life for us He really won the "game." He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him.

Keep your "Mercy" card this week and look for an opportunity to use it. Someone may hurt your feelings or disappoint you. Someone may take advantage of you or ruin your plans. Someone may not do what they're supposed to do and you have to bear the consequences. Ask God to help you show them mercy. Write it on your Mercy card and we will share it with each other during the week.

A Sample Prayer to Conclude Your Time
Dear God,
We praise You for being a Merciful Judge Who also became our Gracious Savior. In our lives there is no way to deserve your mercy or give reason for your love. Your mercy enables us to break free from the habits of sin, and experience joy, peace, and fulfillment in life. Help us to be merciful towards those who harm us. Help us also to share about Your Mercy and Grace to those lost in sin.
In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.