Everything I know about horses I learned from cowboy movies! Unfortunately, movies are not very accurate to normal life and I'm not sure that some folks realize this. They may be similar to real life at times, but they twist the rules to suit writers and do lots of things that could never be done — or at least should never be tried — in real life.

I have always loved horses, but have only been on one maybe twice in my life. One of these days I would really like to take some riding lessons and learn how to enjoy riding. I don't know if that will ever happen, but I have had at least one great adventure on horse back.

About 20 years ago, my wife and were living in Michigan. For our anniversary, we decided to travel up to Mackinaw Island for a weekend getaway. We enjoyed ourselves and while walking around the island we spied a stable. We enquired about renting a carriage, but they were all out and the man suggested we might do some sightseeing by horseback. We said, "OK!" as the man assured us the horses were very gentle and knew the trails.

Things started out just fine ... at least for the first 500 feet. Then we went around the bend and out of sight of the stable. As soon as we reached that point, the horses stopped and wouldn't go any further. We tried everything we had seen on the movies, but the horses knew they had a couple of greenhorns and the fellow running the stable couldn't see them. As we sat there unsuccessfully trying to get the horses to move, someone rode by who had stopped and cut a switch and was gently urging his horse along. I thought, "Hey, great idea!" Since the horse already had its parking brake set, I climbed down, walked to the edge of the trail, of course the horse was watching all the while, then cut a switch, climbed back on top of the horse and gently tapped the horse on the flank.

Have you ever seen the start of a horserace? You know where the gun is fired and the horses all take off like they were the ones shot. If you can imagine that, then you can imagine the scene of me hanging onto the saddle horn now trying to get the horse to stop! I guess Melody's horse was a follower, because it was doing a good job of keeping up.

Again, I tried all of the things I had seen in the cowboy movies, pulling back on the reigns and hollering "Whoa!" All my efforts were to no avail. I don't know how far the horse ran before it slowed down, but I learned that what worked in cowboy movies didn't always work in real life. It was kind of like our friend John, who as a 10 year old, put on his superman costume and jumped out of the upstairs window. That didn't work either, as his time in the cast reminded him.

Movies aren't real and they rarely reflect real life, yet our society seems to be moved and molded by what they see in the movies. Lifestyles and morals are learned and accepted by regular people as they look to those proclaimed to be "movie stars." These lifestyles and morals should never be accepted as the repeated catastrophes in the stars own lives demonstrate. If you try to follow their lead, you may end up on the back of a runaway life with no way to stop or you may find yourself leaping out of an upstairs window with no safety net below. There are no second takes, safety nets, cushioned landings, stand-in doubles, or stunt people in real life.

God gave a warning to Israel about this kind of thing through his prophet. That warning still applies to us today:

Movies aren't real!

So now the LORD says, "Stop right where you are! Look for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, 'No, that's not the road we want!' I set watchmen over you who said, 'Listen for the sound of the trumpet!' But you replied, 'No! We won't pay attention!'
"Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people's condition. Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster upon my people. It is the fruit of their own sin because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected all my instructions.
(Jeremiah 6:16-19 NLT)

May you have the wisdom to know that the way life is really supposed to be is found in the pages of God's Word, the Bible, not in the movies.