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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

One of many of Audrey's signs hanging in her warehouse spotted yesterday during our chaplain visit. This prompted our daily message!

"Reminiscing A Good Meal"

Message summary: Today we want to encourage our readers to do some reminiscing about partaking of a meal in a memorable setting. Then we want you to consider a meal in the Bible that surely became a source of lifelong reminiscing to those who partook.

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"And he (the Philippian jailer) brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household" (Acts 16:34).

Reminisce magazineWe increasingly enjoy reading a magazine called "Reminisce", a nostalgic magazine, historically focused on the many memories people contribute from the 1930s through the early 1970s. It has many engaging stories about what we loved in the past and how it shaped our lives. When we were younger we saw it as the way our parents or grandparents lived, but now many of the reminiscings are very recognizable of a time when we were younger, with some of them in the seventies when we were in college and got married! (We never saw that coming when we, as a newly married couple, might simply glance at the covers of "Reminisce" as they were piled on our parents' coffee table.)

Reminisce Around The TableBrooksyne has a book titled "Reminisce Around The Table-Fond Memories of Food, Family and Friends". It is an assortment of short stories chronicling memorable meals, "real-life stories told by people who live them, capturing the best of the past with cherished family photos, vintage ads and favorite dinner prayers". Since many of the stories took place in the sixties, in our childhood years, we could especially identify, prompting some of our reminiscing.

"Nostalgia" is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. "Reminisce" implies a casual often nostalgic recalling of experiences long past and gone.

Today we want to encourage our readers to do some reminiscing about memorable meals and then consider with us a meal written about in the Bible that surely became a source of lifelong reminiscing to those who partook.

Have you ever tried to tally how many meals you've eaten? Of course in most cases it will only be an estimate but based on our age we figure we've each had some 70,000 meals (give or take several thousand). That's just based on our age and three meals a day and doesn't even include munching! We don't remember the vast majority of meals but we certainly have had some memorable ones, whether it's for their tastiness or lack thereof.

I still good-naturedly tease Brooksyne about one meal flop that took place early in our marriage. A friend gave her a new Mexican recipe for Chicken Mole' and she was excited to make it. The dish was memorable because it tasted so bad that neither of us could finish it. She otherwise is an excellent cook and based upon our 40+ years of married life I figure she has prepared over 40,000 meals, give or take a few, due to our eating out and dining in other's homes.

Matangelos at Casey Jones dining carWe remember other meals due to eating with special people or in a special place such as the Casey Jones Dining Car. This photo was taken when we had a meal with Mike, Kathy and Tina, our friends since 1977.

Today's text records what surely became a memorable meal for those involved, a future memory to reminisce. It's about the marvelous conversion of the Philippian jailer who was spared from suicide and redeemed through salvation. The jailer immediately demonstrated evidence of his conversion by taking his maximum security prisoners, Paul and Silas, into his family's household, by tending to their fresh wounds, and by being baptized. The last Scriptural reference to this jailer is seen in our daily text when he joined Paul and Silas for a late night meal together. "And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household" (Acts 16:34).

"And he brought them into his house." Of course we don't know how far the house was from the jail but assume it was close. What a change for Paul and Silas who, a short time earlier, had their robes torn off them, were beaten with rods, thrown into an inner cell and had their feet fastened in stocks. Now, they were to experience the warm fellowship of a home and meal presented by the prison warden, no less. Was the jailer married and if so what did his wife think when she saw him bringing these beaten prisoners into their home in the middle of the night?

Aunt Bee"And set food before them." Paul and Silas had been severely beaten the day before and there is no record of any meal in the prison. Even if there had been it's hard to imagine it being very tasty since prison food usually doesn't rate a 5 star review. The only appealing food in a jail setting I've ever considered was the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits from Aunt Bee's kitchen she often prepared for jailbirds on the "Andy Griffith Show". The food basket she lined with a  linen napkin and carried on her arm into the sheriff's office making the jail setting all the more cozy and appealing. (Imagine prisoners getting linen napkins for their food clean-up!)

But back to our non-fiction text now, this was a middle of the night meal, with no detail as to who prepared it or how elaborate it was. One thing's for sure, they couldn't call in for a pizza delivery! However, the meal was prepared and whatever food was set before them, it surely was tasty on an empty stomach. Eating in a comfortable home setting is far superior to eating in a dingy jail cell with your feet in stocks as the guards looked on.

"And rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household." Let's consider the descriptive setting that followed the service of the food. The text says they "rejoiced greatly". Now, good food can bring on some pleasant compliments expressed to the host, but the text makes clear the overriding reason for their great time of rejoicing was due to the jailer who turned from a sinful life to, "having believed in God with his whole household". The real source of joy was their faith in Christ.

Paul and Silas sung praises while in jail and we may consider what songs they might have sung and how this might have made an impact on the jailer. Now, as they completed their time together at this late night/early morning meal and before the jailer and his family fade into Scriptural oblivion, do you think Paul and Silas taught the family household a hymn before departing? Though the following hymn was written many centuries after the jailer's conversion, it's an upbeat, testimonial hymn and one that brings rejoicing to a new believer's heart as well as those of us who have served the Lord for a good many years:

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, when we consider life before receiving Christ as our Savior and contrast it with life after coming to faith, we are profoundly grateful for the changes it brought. We no longer flounder in searching for the meaning of life, our sins no longer master us, and joy replaces the fear and uncertainty of tomorrow. We rejoice greatly that our sins are forgiven and that we have an inheritance in heaven that will never perish, spoil or fade. With growing anticipation we long for the greatest fellowship meal of all time when we will be joined with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We rejoice greatly that we who are Your blood-bought children are invited to partake not only of the heavenly assortment of food but also the fruit of the vine. The same fruitful beverage that Jesus offered to His disciples the night of His betrayal has been reserved for us in heaven where we will drink it anew with Him in Your kingdom. Keep us faithful until that most glorious eternal reunion in heaven. Amen.

For further thought on how we can use our hospitality for reaching unbelievers:  Commentator Matthew Henry comments: "They had broken the bread of life to him and his family; and he, having reaped so plentifully of their spiritual things, thought it was but reasonable that they should reap his material things. What have we houses and tables for but as we have opportunity to serve God and His people with them?"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Since Jesus Came Into My Heart"  Video  Collingsworth Family

"Suppertime"  Video  Joey+Rory

Reminisce magazine

Reminisce Around The Table"Reminisce Around The Table" is available on Amazon
Dinner Grace: Here's a sample of one of many prayers in this book. This one is submitted by Elaine Turner of Frederick, Maryland: As a child I learned this grace at summer Bible camp and taught it to our children when they were young:

"Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, our morning joy, our evening rest, And with our daily bread impart, Thy love and peace to every heart."

Finally today:

Family meal 1988
We remember many meals due to it being a special holiday or celebration. This photo was taken at our home in St. Marys, Pennsylvania over 30 years ago. My oldest brother, Mike, took the photo. That meal is in part special because we have the photo, unlike most memorable meals over the years, before we started taking pictures of practically everything.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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