Good Horse Sense!

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Dream BIG! However, never get too BIG for your dreams.

Inventors want their gadgets and gizmos marketed and used. Entrepreneurs want their products and services to perform well and to be profitable. Does it matter where the ideas and innovations are marketed or how? Not as long as those ideas and innovations are represented honestly and presented fairly.

Writers want to be read — by as wide an audience as possible. Does it really matter if the book is hardcover or a paperback, in print or available in an ebook format? Singers and songwriters want to be heard — in a variety of mediums. Should a musically-inclined dreamer sneer at an opportunity to perform for a local venue, be heard on a small radio station, or be produced by an independent record label? These are steps forward to bigger and better things, after all. So, should we underestimate or devalue any opportunity or venue? The simplest and most straightforward answer comes from God’s Word: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin….” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)

Of course, not every person pursuing a dream is a “beginner.” Many may feel they’re well on their way to success, and that they’ve paid their dues; others may feel they’ve already arrived. Still, should these dreamers look down their noses at lesser opportunities to spread their talents and abilities? Before you answer, please allow us to share the following example of an actor who momentarily got just a little too big for his britches — and later regretted it.

Actors want to be seen. Right? And famous! And remembered! Remember Rocky Lane? He was a handsome stage actor discovered in the 1930s by a Fox Studios talent scout. But “Rocky” Allan Lane was never able to make it as a leading man in A-list productions. However, Lane found his niche, when he was in his forties, starring in a string of popular “B” movie westerns. During the 1940s through the early-1950s, Lane enjoyed enough success to be featured on kid’s lunchboxes. But by the late 1950’s he was back to smaller parts, mostly in TV westerns.

Only hardcore western fans and a few nostalgia buffs seem to remember those Rocky Lane horse operas today. Although he made close to four dozen of these short films, only a handful are available now. But the character actor got another — even greater — shot at immortality in 1961. Lane was in his early fifties by then, but apparently he was still tightly gripping the reigns of the idea he had “star” potential. When he was approached by a television producer with a steady job offer, Lane turned it down cold.

It was easy work in a weekly television series, but with good pay. The producer wanted Lane to provide the humorous voice for a wisecracking horse! Lane felt the job was beneath him; which shows how far Hollywood and actors have come since then, because Bradley Cooper, the A-list actor nominated for an “Oscar” for his lead performance in American Sniper (2014), recently supplied the voice for an ornery raccoon in Gaurdians of the Galaxy!

Well, the producer finally convinced Lane to do the voice, but the actor had two stipulations: he didn’t want an acting credit, and he wanted his part in the series kept a big secret. He wanted absolutely no association with the TV show. That wasn’t exactly using good horse sense, however, because Mister Ed ended up being a top-rated series during its six-year run, and is now considered a cult classic.

Make my day: Clint Eastwood happily guest starred in an episode of MISTER ED.

The scheming-but-lovable Mister Ed was so popular, in fact, that some of the biggest stars of the time wanted to play opposite the horse. A few who came on the show, playing themselves, included Clint Eastwood, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Burns and baseball great Leo Durocher. And today — five decades later — people still fondly remember Mister Ed. He’s immortal, so to speak. Rocky Lane? Not so much. We’d never heard of him before we researched the show.

Leo Durocher (left) played ball with Mister Ed (literally). Right: Ed’s costar, Alan Young, playing Wilbur Post.

After Mister Ed became a hit, Lane decided he wanted that screen credit after all. Too late! The show was already crediting Mister Ed as playing himself — and the producers didn’t want to spoil the fun for all the kids watching by saying otherwise! Snort!

Horses may have been beneath Rocky Lane in all those westerns — literally — but doing  Ed’s voice, as the actor realized too late, was not. Too bad he didn’t come off his high horse sooner! (Sorry.) Moral: lighten up. Don’t take yourself TOO seriously. And above all, stay humble, no matter how much success you encounter. Dream big, but don’t get too big for your dreams! “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 NLT)

Young (left) as Wilbur, and Mister Ed as himself.  Ed: “All us big celebrities just play ourselves!”
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Dr. Martin Luther King’s Angelic Message!

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Today we comemorate the life of a great servant of God, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King had a dream that “one day [all people will] live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

In Biblical times, God employed supernatural messengers called angels to deliver such truths. These angels had a habit of showing up on the doorsteps of some of the great heroes of the Bible, and a few times they looked exactly like normal people who were just passing by. But we all have the potential do be God’s “angels” — whenever we choose to be God’s hands extended, His messengers of love.

Dr. King was exactly this type of angelic messenger. He chose to be God’s emissary in a divided world, an “angel” of peace but with a steadfast message of equality.

His angelic message is one of unity and harmony, and as followers of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, we share both his dream and his message!

We pray for the destruction of every last “wall” that so easily divides us: age, gender, ethnicity, and religion, as well as social and economic status. We intentionally leave out the word race, because we feel it’s a misnomer. We are all members of a single race, the human race, created in God’s own image and descended from a single bloodline. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our own image, according to Our own likeness;’” (Genesis 1:26)

“There Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, … you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

Each of us, on this basis, has great worth, value and potential — and is deserving of respect and no small consideration.

Yes, we are all equal! But thank goodness we’re not all the same! We may have our differences, and come from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds, but that just keeps life and people interesting. God loves diversity — just take a look at nature and you’ll understand this — and when He created the human race He seasoned the world with a wide variety of “flavors” (sabor)!

The prophet Samuel wrote, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV) In other words, God determines who we are by looking inside; it’s the condition of our hearts that signifies the kind of people we are, not a set of external factors. So, as we reflect on Dr. King’s message and legacy, let’s also examine our own hearts — honestly. Once we do, we should ask ourselves if what we discover would be pleasing in the eyes of the God who is Love!

Search me, O God, and know heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 KJV) Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Let’s work together to root out any prejudice, hatred, or bigotry toward our fellow man. We don’t have to agree with another person on every single issue in order to accept them; and we don’t have to adopt their worldview in order to love them.

Christ said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:13)

Most of us dream of a better world. If we’re going to pursue this dream, we’ll need to start by being better. With God’s grace we can do it — together! Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

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