BREAKING THE FAST

GOD IS LOVE

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever . . .

Psalm 136:1–4
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16

Additional Reading: Psalm 103:8–13; Psalm 136; Lamentations 3:20–23


In our time of prayer and fasting, we have reflected on our awesome God: He is with us, and He is our comforter, guide, and restorer. These describe who He is, not just what He does for us. They go back to His very being and nature: God is love.


Therefore, we can end our midyear prayer and fasting and look forward to the rest of the year giving thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His steadfast love endures forever.

In the Old Testament, when God talks about who He is, He describes Himself as abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). The original word translated as “steadfast love” in the English Standard Version is the Hebrew word khesed. It is a word so full of meaning that many languages, including English and Filipino, do not have an equivalent word for it. Khesed has been translated as love, steadfast love, loyal love, faithful love, loving-kindness, and mercy. These all capture aspects of khesed, but not its entirety.

God’s khesed has been translated as “love” because it speaks of His motivation, which is other-centeredness. God is not selfish; He puts others’ interests above His own. Khesed has been translated as “loving-kindness” and “mercy” because His love is not merely sentimental. In His loving-kindness and mercy, He acts for the benefit of those He loves. It has also been rendered as “steadfast love” because it is constant and never fails. It is not dependent on whether or not we are worthy or faithful. He always remains faithful.

In addition, it has been translated as “loyal love,” “faithful love,” and “covenantal love” because it shows that the basis of God’s love is His loyalty to the covenant He made with His people. He remains committed and loyal to His people.

Out of God’s steadfast and covenantal love, He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be with us and to save us (John 3:16). Because of His loving commitment that never fails, He brings us comfort and hope (Psalm 119:76; Lamentations 3:20–23), He is committed to lead and guide us (Exodus 15:13), and we can trust Him for restoration (Jeremiah 33:11–13). Whatever good thing we have lost, He can restore and give us something better, whether in this age or in the next.

God’s love assures us that He will continue to be the awesome God that He is.


THEREFORE, WE CAN END OUR MIDYEAR PRAYER AND FASTING AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE REST OF THE YEAR GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD AND HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.



NOTES

Write down your thoughts on today’s devotional. Pray that God will continue to speak as you reflect.




REFLECT

Read Lamentations 3:20–23. How have you experienced God’s love? How does your understanding of His mercies, love, and faithfulness give you strength and assurance to face the future?




Think of one family member or friend who needs a reminder of God’s love. How can you reflect Christ to this person? What can you do for him or her today?





PRAY

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever . . .

Psalm 136:1–4
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16
Dear Lord, thank You for Your love, which is steadfast, loyal, and active. Thank You that You never give up on me. Help me understand that Your love endures forever and Your mercies never come to an end. I pray that I would be rooted and grounded in Your love. May I face the future with the certainty of Your love and faithfulness to me. May I reflect Your love to everyone around me, honoring You and pointing them to Christ. I pray for people in my home, community, and nation to know Your love and turn to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

ANG DIYOS AY PAG-IBIG

Magpasalamat kayo sa PANGINOON, dahil siyaʼy mabuti. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Magpasalamat kayo sa kanya na Diyos ng mga diyos. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Magpasalamat kayo sa PANGINOON ng mga panginoon. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Siya lang ang gumagawa ng kahanga-hangang mga himala. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan

Salmo 136:1–4
Kaya nakilala na natin at pinaniwalaan ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa atin. Ang Diyos ay pag-ibig. At ang nabubuhay nang may pag-ibig ay nananatili sa Diyos at nananatili rin sa kanya ang Diyos.

1 Juan 4:16

Basahin din: Salmo 103:8–1; Salmo 136; Panaghoy 3:20–23


Sa panahong inilaan natin para sa pananalangin at pag-aayuno, pinag-isipan natin ang tungkol sa ating dakilang Diyos: Siya’y kasama natin, at Siya ang tagapagbigay ng ginhawa, gabay, at tagapagpanumbalik sa Kanya. Inilalarawan ng mga ito kung sino Siya, at hindi lamang kung ano ang ginagawa Niya para sa atin. Ipinapakita ng mga ito ang Kanyang tunay at likas na katangian: ang Diyos ay pag-ibig.


Samakatuwid, maaari nating tapusin ang pananalangin at pag-aayuno sa kalagitnaan ng taon athangaring makita ang natitirang bahagi ng taon nang may pasasalamat sa Panginoon dahil sa Kanyang kabutihan at pagmamahal na mananatili kailanpaman.

Sa Lumang Tipan, nang magsalita ang Diyos tungkol Kanya, inilarawan Niya ang Kanyang sarili bilang sagana sa pagmamahal (Salmo 103:8). Ang orihinal na salitang Hebreo na ginamit para sa “sagana sa pagmamahal” ay ang salitang khesed. Ang salitang ito ay puno ng kahulugan. Maraming mga wika, kabilang na ang Ingles at Filipino, ang walang katumbas na salita para dito. Ang salitang khesed ay isinasalin bilang pagmamahal, matatag na pagmamahal, matapat na pagmamahal, tapat na pagmamahal, mapag-alagang pagmamahal, at habag. Ang lahat ng mga ito ay nagpapahayag ng iba’t ibang aspeto ng salitang khesed, subalit hindi ang kabuuan nito.

Ang khesed ng Diyos ay isinasalin bilang “pagmamahal” dahil tumutukoy ito sa Kanyang mga saloobin, na nakasentro sa iba. Ang Diyos ay hindi makasarili; Inuuna Niya ang para sa kapakinabangan ng iba nang higit sa Kanyang sarili. Ang khesed ay isinalin din bilang “kabutihan” at “habag” dahil ang Kanyang pagmamahal ay hindi lamang emosyon. Dahil sa Kanyang kabutihan at habag, kumikilos Siya para sa kapakanan ng mga minamahal Niya. Ito rin ay tinawag na “matatag na pag-ibig” dahil ito ay hindi nagbabago at hindi nabibigo. Hindi ito ayon sa kung tayo ba ay karapat-dapat na tumanggap nito o hindi, o kung tayo ay tapat o hindi. Siya ay laging mananatiling tapat.

Bukod dito, ito ay isinasalin din bilang “matapat na pagmamahal,” “tapat na pagmamahal,” at “pagmamahal ayon sa pangako” dahil ipinapakita nito na ang basehan ng pagmamahal ng Diyos ay ang Kanyang katapatan sa kasunduan Niya sa Kanyang mga mamamayan. Palaging mananatili ang Kanyang dedikasyon at katapatan sa kanila.

Dahil ang pagmamahal ng Diyos ay hindi nagbabago at laging tapat sa kasunduan, ibinigay Niya sa atin si Jesus upang makasama at mailigtas Niya tayo (Juan 3:16). Dahil sa Kanyang dedikasyong hindi nagbabago, nabibigyan Niya tayo ng ginhawa at pag-asa (Salmo 119:76; Panaghoy 3:20–23), nakatalaga Siyang pamunuan at gabayan tayo (Exodus 15:13), at maaari tayong magtiwala na maipapanumbalik Niya tayo sa Kanya (Jeremias 33:11–13). Anumang mabuting bagay ang naiwala natin, maibabalik Niya ito at magbibigay Siya ng mas mainam pa rito, sa panahon mang ito, o sa susunod na panahon.

Ang pagmamahal ng Diyos ay nagbibigay sa atin ng katiyakan na lagi Siyang mananatiling kamangha-manghang Diyos.


SAMAKATUWID, MAAARI NATING TAPUSIN ANG PANANALANGIN AT PAG-AAYUNO SA KALAGITNAAN NG TAON AT HANGARING MAKITA ANG NATITIRANG BAHAGI NG TAON NANG MAY PASASALAMAT SA PANGINOON DAHIL SA KANYANG KABUTIHAN AT PAGMAMAHAL NA MANANATILI KAILANPAMAN.



MGA NATUTUNAN

Isulat ang mga naisip mo tungkol sa debosyonal ngayong araw. Ipanalangin na patuloy na mangusap sa iyo ang Diyos habang lalo mong pinag-iisipan ang mga ito.




PAG-ISIPAN

Basahin ang Panaghoy 3:20–23. Paano mo naranasan ang pagmamahal ng Diyos? Ang pagkakaunawa mo ba ng Kanyang habag, pagmamahal, at katapatan ay nagbibigay sa iyo ng katiyakan upang harapin ang bukas?




Mag-isip ng isang kapamilya o kaibigan na nangangailangan ng paalala tungkol sa pagmamahal ng Diyos. Paano mo maipapakita si Cristo sa taong ito? Ano ang magagawa mo para sa kanya ngayon?





MANALANGIN

Magpasalamat kayo sa PANGINOON, dahil siyaʼy mabuti. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Magpasalamat kayo sa kanya na Diyos ng mga diyos. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Magpasalamat kayo sa PANGINOON ng mga panginoon. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan. Siya lang ang gumagawa ng kahanga-hangang mga himala. Ang pag-ibig niyaʼy walang hanggan

Salmo 136:1–4
Kaya nakilala na natin at pinaniwalaan ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa atin. Ang Diyos ay pag-ibig. At ang nabubuhay nang may pag-ibig ay nananatili sa Diyos at nananatili rin sa kanya ang Diyos.

1 Juan 4:16
Mahal kong Panginoon, maraming salamat sa Iyong pag-ibig na matatag, matapat, at masigasig. Maraming salamat dahil hindi Mo ako sinusukuan. Tulungan Mo akong maunawaan na ang Iyong pagmamahal ay mananatili magpakailanman at ang Iyong habag ay hindi mapapawi. Ipinapanalangin ko na manatili akong matatag sa Iyong pagmamahal. Nawa’y harapin ko ang kinabukasan nang may katiyakan ng Iyong pagmamahal at katapatan sa akin. Nawa’y maisalamin ko sa mga tao sa aking paligid ang Iyong pagmamahal, na magbibigay parangal at magtuturo sa kanila kay Cristo. Ipinapanalangin kong makilala Ka ng mga tao sa aking tahanan, komunidad, at bayan, at nawa’y lumapit din sila sa Iyo. Sa pangalan ni Jesus, amen.

GOD IS LOVE


CONNECT

Let’s play a game! Listed below are a few of the strongest or hardest things we can find on earth. These are things that do not break, rot, or change easily. Fill in the blanks to see if you can guess them all!

D_ AM _ ND

MO_ NT_ _ N

S_E E L

R_ _ K

Did you guess all four? Here are the answers!

These are really hard and strong things, right? Do you think these can last forever? They can’t. You can cut a diamond with another diamond. Strong rains cause landslides so even a mighty mountain can break. Heavy equipment can cut through steel and rocks.


READ THE WORD

So if even mountains can be washed away, and diamonds can be cut or destroyed, is there anything that can last forever? The Bible says there is, and it is good.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever . . .

Psalm 136: 1–4 (ESV)

In these four verses, the writer says these words four times: “His steadfast love endures forever.” Not a few years, not hundreds of years, but forever. How can this be? The Bible also tells us that God is love. God doesn’t love us because we’re good. He doesn’t love us because we’re cute or kind. God loves us because God Himself is love. It is who He is. No matter what we do, God will continue to love us and we can depend on that love.

1 John 4:16 (NIV) says:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

It is important for us to remember that God’s love for us will never change. Whenever we have problems and things are hard, we can rely on God’s love for us. He is full of mercy and kindness and He wants to extend that love to us in every situation. Let us trust in His love no matter what, because His love is stronger than the mountains, and endures forever.


HUDDLE

PARENTS TO KIDS

4–6 years old

  • Do you believe that God loves you?
  • What if you did something that was not nice? Do you think God will still love you?

7–12 years old

  • How much do you think God loves you?
  • Do you doubt His love when bad things happen to you?

KIDS TO PARENTS

  • With all the bad things we see happening around us, how do we know for sure that God still loves us?
  • What can we do to share God’s love with others?

God truly loves us. He loved us already even before we had done any good thing. And He will continue to love us even if we mess up. The way He showed His love was when His Son, Jesus, died on the cross for us. Even before we were born, God already made a way to save us. Isn’t that fantastic? Who can ever top that kind of love?

Because He loves us, He continually comforts, guides, and restores us. And because we have received His love, let’s share this love with others so they may know Him and worship Him too.


PRAY

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever . . .

Psalm 136: 1–4 (ESV)
Dear God, thank You very much for loving us even though we don’t obey sometimes. Thank You that You loved us first and You sent Jesus to show us the way. Help us remember Your love even when times are difficult. Teach us to trust in Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

DISCOVER

Did you know that hugging has a lot of benefits aside from showing people that you love them? According to research, it helps reduce stress, keeps you healthier and happier, and even helps reduce fear!

If you know someone who needs a hug, go and give them one, even a virtual hug for now. You can give them real ones later when the pandemic is over!

Source
Erica Cirino, “What Are the Benefits of Hugging?” Healthline, ed. Karen Cross, last updated April 11, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits.

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