Philippians 3:2
BEWARE OF DOGS, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

While I am not an avid animal lover, I’m certainly not one who dislikes animals. Growing up we always had outside dogs. The rule in our home was, no animal could ever be brought inside. That was my strong conviction until I had little kids begging for a puppy. So, I gave them the choice to have an inside puppy, or go to Disney World. Common sense told me that that would choose Disney over a dog. How wrong I was. Instead of MINNIE mouse for a few days, I had a MINIATURE SCHNAUZER for MANY years. I have to say that I quickly adapted to having a dog that was happy to see me come home.
But, this story is not about Zoe. This little blog is about my neighbors dog.

During my mid-thirties I looked into the mirror and saw that my dream had come true. I was a BIG preacher. Now that’s really a play on words, because I wasn’t big as in well known, I was big as in overweight. I made a decision that day that I would begin a lifelong process to discipline myself to keep my weight under control. Boy is it easy to make commitments when you are full! I soon found out that WEIGHT could very easily FLUCTUATE, but in my quest for health, I dropped around 40 pounds. I began this journey by walking, and then I started running. With daily discipline and only eating something FRIED on FRIDAY, I felt good about this new way of life. Running became a passion. I soon found out that I loved animals more than I thought. I developed the motto, RUN LIKE A HORSE, SO YOU CAN EAT LIKE A PIG.

Then like it always does, life happens. In 1999 I experienced by second ruptured disc, and had to have another back surgery. My first had been in 1989, at 29 years of age. Obviously my running was temporarily curtailed, but my appetite wasn’t. But, I awoke after my second surgery in 1999, and did not have a back pain for about 16 years! I actually preached the Sunday after my surgery. It was really a big deal to do that because it was Easter Sunday and we were moving into our new sanctuary. (That is the true meaning of having your BACK against the wall.)

Now I realize that people have a lot worse problems than back pain, but if you have never experienced a ruptured disc, I pray you never do. It felt so good to be pain free. It wasn’t long until I was running again. This passion was now not just to lose weight but to clear my head. I used this 45-60 minutes a day as a devotion time to hear the voice of God. Yes, I still had to battle with weight, but I knew my limits and perimeters. I knew how far I had to run if I ate a snickers or a plate of fried chicken. Running became an outlet that seemed to keep life’s obstacles in check.

But then in my own neighborhood, it happened. Out of nowhere a dog started chasing me. I quickly went from God speaking to me, to me speaking to that dog. In a few seconds flat I was thinking, this dog is about to have to go to the doggy dentist because I am about to mess up that snarly smile that he has while he growls at me. (Yes I went from the Spirit to the flesh really fast.) Well, the next thing I know, I am on the ground with my arms and legs bleeding. The dog had caused me to trip and fall. Much to my surprise, he just looked at me, like he had won and walked away without biting me. But when I got up I knew the external damage was minor to what happened internally. I recognized the back and leg pain that I had not felt in 16 years. Little did I know that this would begin another long arduous process. The disc was not ruptured, but with scar tissue and rapid degenerative disc disease, bone spurs and pinched nerves a respected neurosurgeon told me that I needed a miracle. He said, you have more of them in your business than I have in mine.

As much as I despise going to doctors, I also painfully endure the unwanted attention that comes from walking with a slump. However, it’s not one of those things that you can hide.

At this point I have had six injections and multiple physical therapy visits, and many different types of tests. With only temporary relief, I located my old surgeon and he seemed to be sure that surgery would fix the problem. So, I decided to go ahead and have my third back surgery. Yesterday, I underwent the knife, and I am believing for a total recovery.

But, while I want none of this to be a pity party, I do want it to be a lesson.
The neighbor’s dog that knocked me down, had no clue that it even happened. But, although the their dog has been my issue, it will never be yours. It’s those other dogs that you have to be aware of, and beware of.

In Philippians 3:2, Paul makes the startlingly statement, to BEWARE OF DOGS. What dogs is he talking about? Sadly, Paul is making reference back to Isaiah. Isaiah called false prophets, DUMB DOGS. Now Paul is referring again to people that are trying to say that Christianity is invalid. He says to BEWARE of them and calls them DOGS.

Whether it is a natural dog, or a pseudo spiritual dog, this verse needs to be heeded. Something will “dog” every person at some point and try to knock you down. But the good news is, for every fall, God has got your BACK!

Pastor Tommy Galloway




  1. My friend Tommy, I will pray for a full recovery! I also had back surgery for herniated disc L4 L5 in 1999. Then a second surgery same area 2001. I sometimes have leg pain that It moves around but never any back pain. I seldom take any pain meds. Ice the back does wonders. I can relate to pain that makes it hard to get up from sitting position, walk, bend over etc. hang in the there my friend! Blessing David Eckstadt

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