July 23 - Joel 2.10-17

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10They make the earth tremble and the heavens shake;
the sun and moon turn dark, and stars stop shining.
11The LORD God leads this army of countless troops,
and they obey his commands.
The day of his judgment is so terrible
that no one can stand it.

The LORD's Invitation

12The LORD said:
It isn't too late. You can still return to me
with all your heart.
Start crying and mourning! Go without eating.
13Don't rip your clothes to show your sorrow.
Instead, turn back to me with broken hearts.
I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don't easily lose my temper, and I don't like to punish.

14I am the LORD your God. Perhaps I will change my mind
and treat you with mercy.
Then you will be blessed with enough grain and wine
for offering sacrifices to me.

15Sound the trumpet on Zion! Call the people together.
Show your sorrow by going without food.
16Make sure that everyone is fit to worship me.
Bring adults, children, babies,
and even bring newlyweds from their festivities.

17Tell my servants, the priests, to cry inside the temple
and to offer this prayer near the altar:
"Save your people, LORD God!
Don't let foreign nations make jokes about us.
Don't let them laugh and ask, 'Where is your God?' "

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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