A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, October 29, 2021
Scenic pond right along busy route 283 between Lancaster and Mount Joy.
(Click to enlarge)
"The Peril Of Pretty"
Message summary: Today let us consider the peril of pretty. Pretty can be bad.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:9). "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (Genesis 3:6). "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful" (2 Samuel 11:2). "Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids" (Proverbs 6:25).
Yesterday I noticed this sign at the beginning of a bike trail warning about a relatively new entomological invader, the spotted lanternfly. I first heard of this insect several years ago when Smuckers, a home improvement company we serve as chaplains, had a special meeting with instructions from the state forestry department seeking to limit the spread of this destructive insect after it had arrived in Lancaster County. But the insect continues to spread, with specimens collected in in Michigan, Kansas, Oregon and California.
The Spotted Lanternfly is actually very pretty, unlike an earlier invader, the stinkbug, which is rather ugly and stinky (see photo here)! As we were visiting our friend's farm awhile back their five year old daughter, Sara Beth, wisely gave her young but spot on impression of the lanternflies. "They're pretty but they're bad" and when she saw one she immediately stepped on it barefoot, which is certainly an effective mitigation effort!
As regular readers already expect, there's a lesson we present that we hope will be spiritually valuable. I like to tell stories but the real value of our ministry is in the exposition of Scripture and spiritual application. Today let us consider the "peril of pretty".
Our first daily text is from the Creation account when God created beauty, specifically "trees that were pleasing to the eye". Trees are beautiful all through the year but especially now in our region with the many vibrant colors of autumn. This represents all the good beauty in God's creation. Pretty can certainly be good!
Our second daily text is from the account of Eve's temptation. The forbidden tree was also described as "pleasing to the eye". Pretty can be deadly!
The third text is the account of David's sin with Bathsheba. The Scripture elaborates, "The woman was very beautiful". Pretty can be dangerous!
The fourth text warns against the harlot with a timeless caution appropriate to all generations, "Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids". Now for the record and by the grace of God I don't have any experience whatsoever with harlots (prostitutes) but do observe they are often made up to be pretty and they still seek to attract men with flirting eyes. Some things just don't change. Pretty can be deceptive!
Let us expand this description of lantern flies, "They're pretty, but they're bad" to anything that is alluring to our flesh but turns our hearts away from God. Sin often presents itself as beautiful; that's part of the deceptiveness of sin. Alcohol ads show attractive young people having a good time, but I've never seen one based upon a DUI traffic accident, a battered wife or jail cells filled with those who murdered innocent life while under the influence. Tobacco ads never show someone in the last stages of lung cancer, emaciated and struggling to breathe. The gambling industry shows successful, affluent-looking, well dressed people smiling with the look of success, not the actual ruin gambling habits have brought to many, many lives.
May God open our eyes today to the blessing of all the good beauty in His creation as well as the peril of that which is pretty but bad and grant us the ability to distinguish between the good beauty of God's creation and all that is pretty but bad.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we pray that You would set our affections on things, both inanimate and human, that draw us closer to the throne of God. May godly discernment guide and enable us to resist the deceptive traps set up by our enemy, drawing our attention away from that which does harm and setting our affections on that which draws us to Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call (Psalm 42)" Video Matt Boswell · Matt Papa
About the Spotted Lanternfly: The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is native to China and was first detected in the US in Berks County Pennsylvania in September 2014, likely migrating off a container ship. The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees. They are invasive and can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses. If allowed to spread through the United States, this pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries. Jack, a forester friend who lives in new York, expressed concern regarding the devastating effect the lanternfly would have in the fertile regions around the Finger lakes. The stinkbug also came in through eastern PA over twenty years ago so we wonder what's up with eastern PA!
The first of ten suggested tips to get rid of the Spotted Lanternfly is "Smush the bugs. It is effective and the method that is least harmful to the environment. If the flies are on a hard surface, fly swatters and wiffle ball bats work well. If you miss the first time, don’t give up. Lanternflies jump well the first time, but then lose energy. If you follow the bug, you will likely get it on the second or third try."
Note from Dottie regarding yesterday's message about a boat named "Enough": Sure did enjoy your writings today and the pictures! Let me share about our boats: Our first boat was named “Mom Didn’t Want It”. It was large so we could fish out in the ocean and feel safe going through a rough inlet but did we really need it??? Our family of four took a vote and since I was the only female in the family I lost. The name brought many comments as we traveled up and down the back bay in Ocean City (NJ).
That boat was later replaced by a second boat we named HE CARED. How did this boat receive its name? We drove our first boat, “Mom Didn’t Want It” all the way to the Keys in Florida. Jim parked the van and the boat was quickly unloaded as everyone was anxious to get it in the water to do some serious fishing and scuba diving, but suddenly a woman under the influence plowed into our van and boat. Our boys received only rope burns and scratches. God protected our sons and “Mom Didn’t Want It“ could no longer float because of the damage. HE CARED took its place and became a wonderful tool to share Jesus Christ over many years out on the water. Thought you enjoy the names of two of our boats!
Here are a few quintessential Lancaster County scenes we saw yesterday.
We followed this buggy in traffic and noticed the owner must be an Eagles fan! According to my Amish source this is likely an older teen who has not yet joined the church and has some additional liberties.
The various branches of Plain people have distinctives you get to know when you've lived in this area for awhile and have befriended many of them. One particular branch of old-order Mennonites, like the Amish, use a horse and buggy to get around but also use bicycles (the Amish in our area use scooters). This rider (presumably a woman but I didn't see her leave) had quite a large load from the Grocery Outlet in New Holland today!
Another beautiful afternoon yesterday and another bike ride along the Lancaster Junction Rail Trail. The trail rides through farmland, passing this large Amish farm.
(Click to enlarge)
This red barn with a large quilt like pattern can be seen from the bike trail.
The trail also runs along Chickies Creek.
This morning we had breakfast at the Columbia Diner and saw a whiteboard when we entered with the breakfast specials. After we were seated we expected to also see the specials with the menu but it wasn't so. I asked our server what they were and she didn't know. So she just went out to the entrance and brought in the whiteboard for us to read! We are so thankful for the many hard workers who keep things going.
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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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