Discipleship Thought began as a weekly email from First Baptist Church at the Mall's Discipleship Pastor, Mark Bedwell, to his Sunday Morning Connect Group Leadership Team. These Thoughts were meant as a weekly encouragement, point to ponder, break from the day and sometimes even meant to make you stop and say "hmmm?"

We hope you find encouragement. Feel free to pass this along to someone who might need a little encouragement today!

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.’”

Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.
Haggai 1:2-7

It was October 31st and I was sitting in the front yard with my family roasting hotdogs over a fire pit and watching children as they scavenged through the neighborhood going door to door looking for candy.  Neighbors stopped by just to say hi.  Typical conversations were held about the weather, the football game, the economy……and the housing market.  As one of our neighbors approached, I noticed that at the end of her leash, she had the most beautiful black dog.  His hair was soft and curly.  His eyes set close together and they seemed to be chocolate brown.  He had an under bite,  a slight wheeze…and within seconds I had fallen in love.  (Please don’t tell my dog, Max.)  As I was rubbing his belly, I commented...  
“you don’t really see many black dogs.” 

I was shocked when our neighbor quickly responded…”black dog syndrome.”  The typical conversation about weather and housing market turned into an educational seminar about a condition I had never even heard of.  Apparently black dogs are the black sheep of the canine world.  They are commonly the last, if at all to be adopted at a shelter.  The bigger they are…the worse their chances.  I was at least a bit comforted to find out males are more likely to be adopted than females.  Let’s face it guys…there are very few things we can boast about as men…so I will take what I can get. 

Since I was so intrigued by this conversation, I went to the internet and found that black dog syndrome was a true phenomenon.  Destined for death at many shelters, some of the reasons that they are passed over might surprise you.  1. Harmful superstitions.  Black dogs are the center of many common folklore tales.  2. Negative labels.  Apparently people associate having a black dog with living with depression due to the terminology “transcending the black dog.”  3. Fear. Many believe that a black dog is simply more aggressive and dangerous. 4. And this is the one that I was most shocked at……they are just too ordinary.  This phenomenon has actually caused some shelters to adopt a BOGO (buy one get one) policy so that the dark coated canines can find a home. 

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that the fate of a beautiful and loving animal rests in decisions being made around superstitions, labels, and fear.  As I think about the many decisions we make every day, I wonder what is shaping those choices.  Are we so easily influenced?  Do negative labels, superstitions, fear, and opinion polls shape and guide who we are and what we do?  Are we people who act out of conviction or are we people who act simply out of conformity?  I also wonder what other kind of syndromes exist.  Who and what are we excluding based upon what we hear rather than what we see with our spiritual eyes and know to be true?  How many opportunities, friendships, and situations are we missing not simply because of the decisions we make……but more so….the basis of those decisions. 

May you pay attention to what is shaping your choices.  May you be a friend of conviction.  May you use it to guide your choices….the big ones and the small ones.  May you go against the flow.  May you recognize prejudices in your life and may you deal with them appropriately.  May you ask for God’s forgiveness.  May you reach out and ask for others forgiveness as well.  May you not be exclusive but may you have a heart that includes.  May you see things through God’s eyes and may He be involved in the basis for all your decisions. May you realize that we live with the consequences of all of our choices.   May you never look at black dogs the same again and “may you give careful thought to your ways”.

Discipleship Thought Created 11/1/10

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