There is one question that must be answered before all others.
On this question hinges all truth, all reason, all knowledge, and all love. Above this question, there is no other, and it is the basis of all things:
Is God who He says He is?
Or, to put it another way, is the Word of God, in Its original text, wholly inspired by God and entirely without error?
Any knowledgeable Christian will acknowledge some degree of errors in translation, although we have more historical collaboration of the Word of God than we do that Julius Caesar even existed, over 10 times the documented evidence of every word of the Canon than we do of Homer’s Iliad or even Beowulf, and there is an overwhelming drop-off in history and documentation from these historically indisputable words to those who try to piggy-back on Divine Inspiration.
Any knowledgeable Christian will also acknowledge differences in interpretation.
But this is not what we are addressing here.
The question is: is the Word of God Itself inerrant?
There are 2 answers to this question.
Either the answer is Yes, without qualification…
Or it is No.
And if the answer is No, in any way shape or form, then God is not who He says He is.
Who is He?
There is no objective answer.
As soon as a person places themselves above the Word of God, they have made themselves their own god. They are now the arbiters of truth. There is no objective standard, no baseline, no way of proving anything. There is just opinion.
Opinion is fine. There is nothing wrong with opinions. It is my opinion that Starbucks coffee tastes terrible, but Caribou is a God-send of immense delight. But that is just my opinion. It is no basis for truth. They teach children the difference between opinion and fact in second grade… or, at least, they did when I was of school age.
The same is true of defining truth by your own standards. When you determine truth, you have nothing to stand on, no one to back you, and… honestly… in the end… no one who cares. If they disagree with you, they can just say, “Well, that’s just your opinion.” And they would be totally justified in doing so.
It is impossible to determine truth on your own. What is your name? You don’t know this of yourself, but only by what people have told you and a document someone else made. When were you born? Same dilemma. Who are your parents? Hmm…
If you don’t even know who you are on your own, how can you determine the Universe?
In order for something to be categorically true, it has to match up to a standard. You have the freedom to chose any standard you want, but you can never know it to be the real one.
But, unlike any other standard, the Word of God choses you. It comes to you through the Holy Spirit by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the mercy of the Father. It takes your entire outlook on life, and changes it. And It declares Itself to be:
“breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17
You don’t have to wonder if It is true because It says It is.
Either you believe that, or you don’t.
Either God said it, and so it is…
Or it isn’t, and that’s just your opinion.
A Baby Shower Devotion
Standing up here, there are a lot of things I’m not going to tell you:
I’m not going to tell you all about how kids are… interesting little creatures who have a certain inclination towards sugar and driving their mothers insane. I’m sure you’ve already heard enough horror stories to make a person wonder why anyone ever had children, and yet… here you are. The truth of parenting is, just as Jesus endured the Cross for the joy set before Him, you too would do anything for the little joy literally sitting right in front of you…covered from head to toe in peanut butter. And even though there will be hard days, someday you’ll look back on these years and wish you could do it all over again… or, at least, that’s what they tell me.
I’m not going to tell you the practical steps to raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted kid because the last thing you need is another mother telling you that your child needs to be raised in a minimalist environment… while wanting for nothing. Gluten free… except all the cookies and cake and pizza that every happy child deserves. Screen free… except all the hyper educational shows that are really just…. hyper cheesy. Everyone is already giving you their opinion on how you should raise your kid, and you’re probably going insane. The reality is, there are some days where keeping your children alive is a challenge (trust me, I have two busy boys), and… well… I don’t think a single woman in here would consider themselves totally happy, healthy, or well-adjusted, let alone all three. Our mommas loved us and raised us the best they knew how, and that is really what every child needs.
I am going to tell you that there will come a day where it seems like the entire world is coming to an end, you did absolutely nothing right, and you wonder if you’re really the best mother for your child. You’re going to look back on his or her life and see all the times you failed, all the times you fell, all the times you thought more of yourself than of them… and despair. And on that day, I want you to be able to look back on today and remember this: Jesus loves your little baby so much more than you ever could, and He gave them to you. From the beginning of time, God knew all the ways you were going to fail, and yet He knew that the best momma your baby could possibly have… is you. You with all your quirks and foibles, your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes… you are the best mother for your child. Just the way God made you. Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean you won’t mess up. What it does mean is God will use your failings to make them stronger, to form them into images of Himself. Hasn’t He already promised that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him? Just as God used Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery to make him into the person to save all of Israel, so will God use your mistakes to do great things.
The best mom for your child is you. Hold on to that. Embrace that. Remember that. That moment when you feel tempted to be someone else, to try to be just like THAT mom (you know… the one that everyone looks up to totally unaware of her own faults and mistakes), remember that God made you you (you know… the one that everyone looks up to totally unaware of her own faults and mistakes), remember that God made you you, just the way you are, to glorify Him and fulfill the purpose He has for you, which includes being a mom. Yes, He has a lot of work to do on you yet, just as He does with all of us. But that work won’t change who you are. You are you, and all of that pruning will be to take away the things in your life that keep you from shining bright for Him.
So, be yourself and love yourself for Christ’s sake. He loves you enough to sacrifice everything for you! Who are you to tell you that you’re not lovable? Take time to discover your strengths so you can soar. Time to discover your weaknesses so you can grow and ask for help. Time to learn what makes you smile. Often, we get so caught up in being who we think everyone wants us to be that we forget who we are… and therefore lose sight of the glorious plans God has for us. There is a victory for Satan in convincing someone that they are not lovable and to be someone else, for then the plans God has for them sit on the sidelines waiting for them to come home. Sometimes, we just need to take some time to find ourselves again, like Julia Roberts in “Runaway Bride” trying every possible way of cooking eggs to find her favorite.
As Dr. Seuss famously said, “You are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Jesus loves you, Jesus loves your baby, and Jesus gave you to each other.
day 1: read Psalm 139 + Ephesians 2:1-10
“Marvelously loved one, there is absolutely nothing accidental about you.”
Before the beginning of time, when the universe was yet to be formed, He thought of you. Before light burst forth in dazzling splendor and the first animal drew breath, your name was written on His heart.
And He rejoiced.
When all that was and all that is and all that will be came into being, your Heavenly Father set forth a divine purpose that only you can fulfill, a life of glorious meaning full of love and grace and adventure—a life of abundance.
And from that first moment when He spoke, “Let there be light!” and Creation came into being, He set the world in motion with you in mind. You, His Beloved, were meant to be. You, His Chosen, are made in His marvelous image to shine forth glorious light for all the world to see. All of history, His Story, is a love song written just for you. A Divine Lover cries through the colors of the sunset, in the windy tempests, in the magnificent mountains, “I am here! Come to Me!”
And just to make it abundantly clear, He spoke to many men over thousands of years, instructing them in the composition of the greatest love letter ever written: The Bible. He is calling you from the throne of Heaven to take, read, revel in this Word: the one and only source of Truth, the one and only source of salvation from all your failures, regrets, and gaping wounds, the one and only source of true and lasting joy and peace, the power to change the world. God’s Word brought directly to you.
In His book, you will find who you are. You will find your worth, your calling, your divine purpose. In His book, you will find the healing and hope your heart so desperately longs for. In His book, you will find life.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...”-Psalm 139:13-14