April 30, 2021

The Good Book

by Dr. Oliver Wagner

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
2 Timothy 3:16
Since the pandemic forced us to be physically apart we have tried to remain connected to faith and our church family through these daily devotions. I hope and pray you have found them useful and worthwhile toward that end. Today’s edition marks the end of that journey since we will again worship in the sanctuary this Sunday. To help keep you connected we will continue to film and send out the worship service. Many of you have commented to me that you hope daily devotions can be continued in some form or fashion. Though that won’t happen immediately, I will work with our pastors in the weeks and months to come to see what we can do. So, please, stay posted!

For now, we’ll call it the end of a chapter and take a break.

What have we done with these devotions? Among other things, we have trafficked our days and lives with scripture, just a phrase or verse. We have allowed scripture to be a part of our pandemic journey along with a few reflections written by pastors or members about what the passage says to them or for us. And of course, we have prayed for understanding and hope, we have prayed to be more loving and faithful, and to be more effective witnesses of the gospel.

Today’s verse from the New Testament tells us how the early church viewed the Hebrew Scriptures—as a gift from God meant to help the church teach, train, and shape the lives of Christians. The verse declares that scripture is a tool, and like all tools when used rightly it helps us accomplish a larger task. Our task of making disciples and sharing the good news of Jesus in word and deed is a big and important one. As we answer God’s call to be and do, pray and serve, live and love, we have a valuable and useful resource to help us-- the gift of scripture.

Like all tools and resources, scripture is an aid to us only if used. That shovel in my garage doesn’t do a thing when it hangs there on the wall between two nails. The bible on the bookshelf unread or the coffee table gathering dust is not much more than a relic or symbol. Take and read. Pray and open. Explore and use. Even as these daily devotions pause, we continue to be a people of the book who in the scriptures listen for a word from the living God who has created us, redeemed us, sustains us and calls us to the service of love, peace and justice in Jesus’ name.

Finally, let me take this time to thank you for reading, thank all devotion writers for sharing their thoughts and faith, and thank the office staff for sending them out. Please consider joining one of our many small group bible studies which will begin in August…. another valuable and blessed opportunity to keep reading and using the good book.
Thank you, God Almighty, for the word you speak to us and the love you hold for us. Help me to know your good purposes for my life and our world. Strengthened and guided by your Spirit, teach me to live with faith, righteousness, justice, love and peace as ambassadors of the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com