God Likes Me

Good morning (it’s 1100am as I begin this). It is Saturday, January 4, 2014. 42 days until pitchers and catchers report. 86 days until Opening Day.

Today is “Hypnotism Day.” You are getting sleepy. Your eyes are getting heavy. But it’s probably out of boredom from reading my blog, so never mind.

Yesterday, the news came out that Phil Everly, of The Everly Brothers has died at the age of 74. That’s a big loss to the music world. I don’t have a lot of remembrances of their music, but I do remember a number of their songs. Like this song that was, at its time, actually very scandalous.

We stayed up into 1230am last night, watching more Parenthood on Hulu Plus, and we now have only one more episode to watch before being caught up to the current week’s episode. I still don’t like Jasmine. And right now, I’m really, really worried about Julia and Joel. Things are not looking good for them. Wait. This sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it? Gah!!

I didn’t think I was going to play tonight, at church, but the guitar player who was going to play has had the flu, so I will be playing keys, after all. Fortunately, I have played all the songs we are doing tonight.

We probably won’t do much tomorrow. The temperature is supposed to range between 28 and 38. Sounds like a hot chocolate kid of day.

On this date in Jacob Grimm, the elder of the two Grimm brothers, Hanau, Germany. He and his younger brother collected such tales as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” They put these stories together by listening to oral storytellers and trying to reproduce them as best they could.

Also on this date, 180 years later, the poet T.S. Eliot passed away. He died in London, at the age of 76, in 1965. The Waste Land, published in 1922, “is considered the single most influential work of poetry in the twentieth century.” (History.com)

Today’s birthdays, besides Jacob Grimm, are Louis Braille, developed the Braille reading system, 1809, James Bond, ornithologist, 1900, Dyan Cannon, actress, 1937, Matt Frewer, actor (Max Headroom), 1958, Michael Stipe, vocalist (REM), 1960, and Julia Ormond, actress, 1965.

Michael Stipe was the lead vocalist for REM. There is a strong possibility that he actually lived in Mineral Wells, TX for a period in his life, as his father was in the Army. He mentions a man named Mr. Pemberton and his record store in Texas in a Rolling Stone interview. Here is a song from what I still consider to be their best album, Life’s Rich Pageant. The song is “Cuyahoga.”


Psalm 4:1, 3-4, 7-8 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 34:3-8 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:17-19 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Today, in Reflections for Ragamuffins, the reading is called “Being Cherished.” Brennan Manning tells the story of Edward Farrell, a priest from Detroit, who went on a summer vacation to Ireland. He had an uncle there who was about to celebrate his eightieth birthday. On the day of his uncle’s birthday, Ed and his uncle got up to take a walk along the shores of Lake Killarney. As they stopped to watch the sunrise, they simply stood, side by side, for about twenty minutes. As they began walking again, Ed noticed a broad smile on his uncle’s face. “Uncle Seamus,” he said, “you look very happy.” “I am,” his uncle replied. “How come?” Ed asked. His uncle reply was, “The Father of Jesus is very fond of me.”

If I were to ask you if you truly believe that God likes you, what would would you say? Notice I did not say “loves.” That’s the theological answer. I think most of us would have no trouble believing that God loves us, because “the Bible tells me so.” But do you believe he likes you? Think about Uncle Seamus’s statement, “The Father of Jesus is very fond of me.” This knowledge, this belief, would bring “a relaxedness, a serenity, and a compassionate attitude toward yourself that is a reflection of God’s own tenderness.” In Isaiah 49:15, God says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And in Joshua 1:5, God told Joshua, No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

We are truly cherished by God. More than just love, he is very fond of us. God likes us!

Oh, my Father, engrave on my heart the thought that you cherish me, that you like me. I’ve known all my life that you love me. But to know that you like me and desire to be my friend, that is knowledge that, as the psalmist said, is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. I’m not sure what to do with this thought. I confess, it most definitely brings tears of joy to my eyes. It also gives me hope for the future. It inspires me to think with compassion, not only about myself, but about others, too, for if you like me, then you also like all my brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, I need to show more compassion to all of them. Lately, I’ve sensed a lack of compassion in me, Father. I pray for that to be fixed. Soften my heart. Break it open and let your love pour out. Teach me your way. May your word be that light to my path as I walk each day.

I pray for this evening. We have many people out for one reason or another, with some being ill. I pray for your healing hand on those who are ill, and I pray for those of us who make it to our worship service. I pray for encouragement for Jacob, as he plans to share his vision for 2014 tonight. Let him not be discouraged by small numbers. I also pray for our worship leader, who is in a bit of a bind right now, as it appears our drummer has bailed for some reason. Give him wisdom, Lord, to know how to proceed tonight. May we all be supportive and encouraging to him.

I pray for Summer and her family, as her grandpa is not long for this world, or so the reports would have us believe. Give them peace and comfort in this circumstance, and may the time they have left with him be so very sweet.

Your grace is sufficient.

Ponder the thought that God likes you for a while today. How does that make you feel?

Grace and peace, friends.