Chapter Twelve

Let's Talk About It:  I AM Merciful

"God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead." (Ephesians 2:4)

1.  How do you usually react when you catch someone doing something they shouldn't?  Have you ever been caught doing something you knew was wrong?  What was your first thought?  How did you feel?

2.  Consider the definition of mercy:  "Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency" (American Heritage Dictionary).  Have you ever experienced mercy from others or from God?  What impact did that have on your life?

3.  God offers His mercy to everyone but He doesn't force us to accept it; it is a gift.  Why do you think some people have a hard time believing God's mercy is a gift that cannot be earned?  How is that a reflection of their view of God's love, faithfulness, and power?

4.  Read Luke 23:34 to see what Jesus said as He was hanging on the cross looking at His executioners.  If Jesus could extend mercy on the men who humiliated and tortured Him, can you think of any sin you have ever committed that Jesus' mercy cannot cover?

5.  Saul of Tarsus, (before he became the apostle Paul) murdered and imprisoned many devout followers of Jesus.  Look up Philippians 3:13,14 to see what his attitude was years later.

--What do you think Paul meant about "forgetting the past," and what does that have to do with embracing God's mercy?  How do you think that related to his ability to do what God asked him to do?

6.  In John 8:11, how do Jesus' words to the woman caught in adultery reflect both His mercy and His holiness?  Which of Jesus' words do you think provided greater motivation to the woman to change her behavior and why?

FOCUS ON GOD

On an index card or your favorite electronic device, write the following statement and verse, or just take a picture of it:

____________________________

God, because You are merciful, I

know that through Christ all my sins are forgiven.

"The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."  (James 5:11, NIV)

____________________________

Look at it when you get up, when you go to bed, and at least once during the day as a way of intentionally shifting your focus from yourself to God.  During one of those times each day, take a few minutes to think about the positive benefits in your life of God's mercy.

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