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Little Orange Pepper


      I planted pepper seedlings in my garden. I had grown several of them from seed, but my seedlings did not thrive—only three survived in the garden and grew very slowly. I bought various pepper seedlings at the garden stores, to overcome this shortage, and for variety sake, picked different kinds of pepper—green, yellow, orange, red and purple. I could not quite remember buying any hot peppers. If I did, I forgot about it, once they were planted.
      At harvest time, the lovely pepper fruit began forming—and my family was enjoying tasty green and purple peppers. I saw some plants had developed adorable, tiny red and orange peppers—very attractive and ornamental. I finally picked one to have in my salad. Upon eating my salad, I became aware that my mouth and tongue were in pain, numb, tingling and hurting, because of the hotness of the salad. Every mouthful was painful.
      At first, I did not realize the cause—as the "hotness" had spread to the whole salad. But it was quickly apparent that the beautiful, little orange pepper was the culprit, as it was extremely hot. I was unable to finish the salad. The cause of the "hotness" is a chemical, "capsaicin", found in the pepper, which though harmless, irritates the mucous glands of people and mammals, in general. Despite its painful affect in the mouth, it causes no harm when eaten.
      Despite causing the salad to be inedible, the pepper did have some usefulness. When added to chili or tomato sauce in very minute amounts, it adds a slight tang, which is quite tasty. It also was useful as a deterrent to squirrels, who were so attracted to the food in my kitchen, that they tore holes in the screens of the windows to get inside. By spraying a mixture of white vinegar, mixed with hot pepper, the squirrels entirely avoided the screens!
      What lesson can we learn from the pretty little orange and red peppers? In life, many things may attract us, by charm, bright colors, flashiness. The appearance is pleasing, though the inner content is unknown. Like the fish that is attracted to a flashy lure, we can take a bite of the pretty, little orange pepper, only to find our mouth "on fire"!
      Better to seek our Heavenly Father for wisdom, in all areas of life, and not just notice the outward appearance of things.
      And even those bitter experiences, like the inedible salad, have lessons for us. Like the slight bit of pepper in a tomato sauce that adds flavor or repels an invading squirrel, if we are careful to use it in the right way, a tiny bit of spice may be very useful.