Cowboy Bob's Campfire ConversationsCowboy Campfire

Table of Contents

Cowboy Bob and the Bouncin' Bovine
The Philmont Mountain Lion
The Dyin' Gunfighter
The Truth About Wild Horses
Bunc Bradshaw and the Mexican Captain
Cowboy Bob: Movie Star
The Cowboy's Wardrobe
Some Other Cowboy Paraphernalia
The First Bulldogger
The Adventures of Cheyenne Dawson
Louis Remme's Wild Ride
Cowboy Bob and the Bunny Buckle

God's Bit and Bridle

A few tales back, we were talkin' about perplexicatin' Bible verses. Well, here are some verses that used to really puzzle me:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding:
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.

--Psalms 32:8 & 9

Now this puzzled me, because a lot of the time I can tie the reins to the saddle horn and guide ol' Willy with just a little pressure from my legs or a slight shift in my weight.

At times, it's almost like we become one creature, doin' a dance together, a human and a 1,000 pound horse.

A good cuttin' horse only needs the rider to pick the cow that's to be cut out of the herd. Then, the rider grabs the saddle horn with both hands and hangs on for dear life while the horse does all the work. The wrangler never touches the reins.

After a while, I realized that the Bible's talkin' about a horse with no understandin' - not one that knows what's goin' on.

A stubborn horse, or one that hasn't yet figured out how to read the rider's signals, has to get a lot of pressure from the bit and bridle.

The horse's body is made to follow the head - which you can control with the bit, bridle, and reins. The bit and curb chain can put so much pressure on a horse's jaw that you can break the jaw if you're not careful. That's a mighty strong clamp to put on an animal.

That Apostle James fellow must have spent some time on horseback, 'cause he knew somethin' about how horse tack works:

"Now, if we put the bits and bridles into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well." --James 3:3

God gives us the same sort of choice: we can either be alert to the quiet signals God gives us, and do what we should, with just a hint from Him -- or we can be like a stupid, stubborn mule, goin' through a bunch of punishment, and windin' up doin' what we were supposed to do in the first place.

A few years back, I was ridin' a bus across the desert country of Utah and Nevada on my way to Californy. On the other side of the aisle was the sort of fellow most of us would want on our side of a fight. I mean, he was big, and he was strong.

What interested me most about that guy, though, was the itty-bitty, red-covered book he was readin'. It was a little Bible; the kind them Gideon folks hand out.

Well, he was tryin' to figure out somethin' back in the book of Genesis, and we jaw-boned about the matter fer a while.

After a bit, he told me how come he was ridin' the bus to Californy. Seems his dad was the pastor of a little church in Oakland. Well, sir, the fellow on the bus had decided that his pappy didn't know much about havin' a good time, so he set out to do his own thing.

"When I woke up one morning and found myself staring at a three and a half year prison term," the guy admitted, "it suddenly dawned on me that my father wasn't so stupid after all."

Durin' his time behind bars, he proceeded to get right with both of his fathers: the one in heaven and the one on earth. He found out that all that Bible talk about Jesus bein' real and alive and forgivin' sin ain't a bunch of hog-wash.

He had been released a few days before, and was on his way back to Oakland - where he planned to help out in his dad's church while goin' to seminary so's he could become a preacher himself.

That man on the bus had to go to prison before he discovered how hard God's bit and bridle can be - and how good it is to have understandin' of the right way to go.

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