The Bible tells us from the very beginning God made man in His image and gave him dominion over everything on earth but one thing. God’s intention was never for man to have dominion over other men.

In 1 Samuel 8 we read where Israel cried out for a king, like all the other nations. Samuel had been God’s “go to man” up until this point but was getting on in years. He had two sons who apparently didn’t do things the same way Samuel did so Israel got together and requested a king. Samuel went to God in prayer and God told him, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”

You see God’s plan was for Israel to be a nation like no other nation on the earth. He didn’t really want them to have a king. In fact what He wanted was for them to trust Him as their king. Can you imagine what all the other nations would have thought when they saw how the whole nation of Israel functioned in harmony without an earthly king? The nations would have been curious and come asking Israel what its secret was. They would have said, “How do you guys do this? You don’t even have a structured hierarchy of government over you and yet you prosper and seem to work as a body without need of a head.” It would be then that they say, “Oh, but we do have a head! It’s God Himself!” Let me tell you about Him! God’s plan all along was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea let me just say, just because God is the head doesn’t give us permission to completely throw off restraint and not submit to the governing authorities. You see according to Romans 13 the government is God’s minister to discipline people when they need discipline–“For it does not bear the sword in vain…”

Further more in 1 Timothy Paul instructs us to “pray on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” So you see the governing authorities are meant to be here for our good. God’s view of government is for those in authority to protect and serve the people so we might live quiet and godly lives. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples? He said, “The rulers of the Gentiles (other nations) lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…” So you can see how different the kingdom of God operates from the rest of the world.

Even as we direct our thoughts to the church we can see this. According to Ephesians God has given the church what is commonly known as the five-fold ministry. We have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. So there is a structure even in the church but it was never intended for these offices to be ruling over others. The role of these five are to serve others by “equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (perfect) man…” So you see God’s end-game is for all of us to find our individual roles in His body. Once we find our role, we will begin to operate as our part of the body intended to operate, under the supervision of the one true head which is Christ Himself. Meanwhile we are in need of government offices with specific roles to play in our lives; but never lose sight of the fact our hope is not in voting in the “right man”, or passing this or that legislation, our hope is always in Christ!



The following is a conversation I recently had via. E-mail with a friend dealing with their past. Many people, even after coming to Christ, have trouble handling their past. I hope this will be of some help.

Brian: I’ve come to realize that my battle in my mind is the past. But I guess I knew that without reading the book by Joyce. And that I need to get back to church.

Louie: I’m glad to hear that. I thought about you Sunday when the Glovers were singing “Still holding on.” Does this mean we’re going to see you Wednesday? I hope so, we’re in the last part of Romans 3. As far as reading the Joyce Meyer book goes, we all need reminders from time to time. I have several books I read over and over again, and it still seems fresh each time.

Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

Brian: I’m just tired of the set backs that I seem to have and the past haunting me.

Louie: Someone once said, “we live in the enemy’s camp and he has a right to shoot at us.” The good news is we have the armor of God! If you don’t mind, let me pry for a minute and ask you, what is it exactly about your past that’s haunting you?

Brian: I can sing that one!! My past, but to be honest mostly mine and her past together. And then my past comes into play saying go back (to my old lifestyle) and forget it all, but I can’t and won’t do that.

Louie: So you’re having difficulty letting go of past hurts and the temptation to use comes up, promising to silence the unwanted thoughts, right? Well, we both know where that leads now don’t we? All you’ll get from that is a hangover, and then you will still have to deal with whatever is troubling you, but then it’ll be with a pounding headache accompanied by guilt and shame. One thing that keeps me from drinking is that I can continue to tell others how long it’s been. Tracey and I went to Gulf Shores one time, and I really thought about drinking, but simply couldn’t justify it in the end so I didn’t. Months later I was sharing the story about being tempted to drink with some guys in jail and one of them said, “Well, did you?” And I loved that I could honestly tell them…No!

Maybe this will help you. Tracey and I have a very spotty past life too and all I can say is God has a way of getting us through. What finally got me is realizing Christ is enough. I remember thinking how much I wanted to get back together with Tracey; but eventually I came to the conclusion me and God had to get things straight whether or not she and I ever did. Now I know Tracey loves God and is willing to choose Him over me and that gives me the ability to trust her. As long as you and Cindy keep your focus on Christ He will work this out.

Brian: Your exactly right. Its a pounding headache or being strung out with the problem still there. Only difference is your adding more problems to it. That’s why I know I can’t do that and I thank God that I can’t. The main thing is that I wanted this for so long with her and now I have it but now the past is haunting me. All that happened between us is there when I look at her, when I’m laying in bed. It’s killing me inside. I’ve prayed about it and prayed but it seems like its driving a wedge. And its hard to even mention the main part that’s haunting me.

Louie: You know that’s the enemy, right? I guess the real question is “Are you a new creature?” and “Is she?” There are plenty of things Tracey and I could bring up and throw at each other about our past foolishness, but we have both made a decision to move forward in Christ.

I remember a time when we all worked together and I told you I didn’t trust Cindy. That was very true at the time, but I do genuinely believe there has been a change in her. Obviously I don’t live with her, but I do work with her for several hours everyday and from what I’m seeing she loves you and really wants this marriage to work. You two picked each other above all others. Marriage is a commitment based on trust which means we can’t always know what’s coming around the corner but we have agreed to stick it out. The truth is it takes a miracle, because we humans, left to ourselves, really aren’t very trustworthy, but with “Christ in you”…and “her” a miracle is what we’re living everyday.

Brian: I do remember that. I truly believe she is a new creature now. She is a changed woman, I truly believe that. I see that. Yesterday on my way home from work something came up and got me thinking. It was like a voice saying my problem in the relationship is that it’s a healthy relationship. I don’t know how to be in one. All I’m used to is a relationship with drinking, drugs and fighting or arguing all the time. Its opened my eyes in a way.

Louie: I think you may have nailed it right there. It’s difficult to be in a “healthy” relationship if you’ve never known one or seen one modeled in front of you before. This is what is so awesome about the Spirit of God because He can show you the way. I would venture to say we have all had our share of wrong relationships simply because we didn’t know God. The good news is now we do.

One more thing just came to me. I remember thinking I would wall myself off in order to keep from getting hurt. That sounds good at first, but eventually you realize the same walls that keep you safe also keep you from any real connection with others because nothing can get in or out. Life and marriages are risky business, but in the end they are worth the risk. I hope to see you tonight at Coffee Connection.

Brian: That’s true. I’ve never been in a healthy relationship. Mine and hers sure wasn’t healthy at first, I mean before we had a true relationship that is. And also not having a father around but not sure that would play a part. But your right it is hard to be in a healthy relationship and that just hit me yesterday. But it shouldn’t be that hard you wouldn’t think.

Louie: I think sometimes when you are accustomed to “drama” or “upheaval” it becomes your comfort zone. The flesh gets used to being charged up and it can seem unusual if it isn’t, like nothing’s happening. The truth is life is full of days when nothing seems to be happening, but you just do what you do anyway. The other night at jail we read some scripture and the guys didn’t really have anything to say or add to what we were reading, but we plowed through anyway. As I walked away from there it appeared like nothing was accomplished, but I know God’s word will do exactly what He wants it to. Sometimes it seems like we’re “doing time” ourselves but with God nothing’s wasted and if it’s done in the power of His Spirit it will bear fruit.

As far as marriage being difficult, I think we just don’t know how far mankind has fallen. Sin has disrupted everything in creation; so getting along even with someone you love can be a task. I think this is God’s way of teaching us His unconditional kind of love, a kind of love that puts others first and dies to selfishness. It takes the Holy Spirit living through us to make it happen that’s for sure.



The following is a discussion that ensued from a quote from my friend Brett Burrowes. This is an excerpt, mind you, of a larger article, but I think it is sufficient to stand on its own. After reading this in full feel free to comment. Thanks!  

Brett: “Sin is not the corruption of an independently operating human nature, but the enslaving spirit of Satan. Humans do not operate themselves, since Paul says that we are either operated by the spirit of sin which indwells us, “it is no longer I but sin” (Romans 7:17,20), or we are operated by the Spirit of Christ, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament. So does this abolish our free will? By no means, recognizing what we do not control enables us to recognize what is within our control; we have the choice to take God at His word and trust Him, or we can continue to trust Satan’s deception that we autonomously run our own lives. The choice and the consequences are ours: but why would we continue to trust one whose aim is theft and destruction instead of the One who loves us and has predestined us to share in His own glory?”

Tom: Much of this is not Biblical. God holds US responsible for ALL of our sin and it is ALL ours.We make those choices concerning what we choose to do or not do. Paul was speaking of the war between the man’s natural sin nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit working in us to resist sin, not another self that commits sin without our consent. This is New Age twisting of Biblical teaching, not New Testament. Looks like Kenneth Copeland-Kenneth Hagin New Age interpretations. Be wary of any teaching that seems to absolve us from our choice. It is always a deception.

Louie: Well Tom, I don’t see how this “absolves us from our choice.” When Paul wrote “It is no longer I but sin” he is differentiating between himself and the “sin” is he not? If he was talking about having a “natural sin nature” how could he talk as if “sin” was something IN him doing it? Sin here is definitely a personal pronoun therefore it appears to be something, or someone, other than Paul himself. Jesus did say, “I am the true vine” which brings with it the implication there is a “false vine” correct? The point is we are always and only a branch, therefore we have “No independent” nature of our own. We are either partaking of the “sin” nature inherited from the fall, or we have been born again and are now partakers of the “divine nature.” Either way we have no nature of our own. Humans were created to be an expressor of the God who created them. In the fall a lesser being, otherwise known as Satan, made his way into us. This is why we must be born again of God’s Spirit from above. I would encourage you to look into this a bit closer.

Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” This is the phrase that reveals the falsehood. It is always “me.” That is why God holds us accountable. We cannot excuse our sin by saying we were not responsible. We are responsible…always. This philosophy is falsehood, Louie. Don’t buy it.

Louie: Thankfully we don’t have to buy anything Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! Tom who said we’re not responsible? We are responsible for who we are obeying either sin or righteousness (Jesus) Romans 6:16. This is why Paul told us to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God and to stop presenting our members to sin but rather present ourselves to God. You see presenting is choosing.

Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” Where did this come from. That’s who said we are not responsible.

Louie: We are not the sole one responsible we are in allegiance with the evil one when we sin but we’re still responsible. If you and I go to rob a bank, you stay in the getaway car and I go in to hold them up. When I come out and you drive us away who’s responsible?

Tom: Yes, but we are the one that allows Satan’s influence over us. God will judge us and only us for our sin, not Satan. The fact that we ARE an independently operating human self is the very central doctrine of the New Testament. That man denied that in his statement. That’ is where the falsehood lies.

Louie: Who actually told you we have an independent nature? Why would Jesus tell us we are a branch only? We are the body but not the head. We are a vessel but not the contents. We are a temple not the deity that lives within it. You see we were created to house God’s Spirit. Therefore once the “spirit of error” took up residence within, deception was sure to follow. This is why we have to receive Christ but that only happens with the hearing of the Good news. What’s the Good news you might ask. Well, the good news is we have been crucified, buried and raised with Christ and we are forever joined to Him “Spirit to spirit.” We have been set free from the “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2! Amen!

Louie          Check out Brett’s blog if you want to study a bit deeper on this subject. I think it will be worth your time. https://brettburrowes.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/sin-and-satan-part-2/


Rebellion comes from a wrong view of God. All the troubles of mankind can be traced to this one thing: a skewed understanding of who God really is. In the Garden of Eden our first father rebelled against God by taking of the forbidden fruit because the Serpent said, “Did God really say?” He inspired doubt in Eve and in turn she fed it to Adam. Once they believed God was possibly withholding something from them they disobeyed.

In the book of Deuteronomy we find a similar instance as the Children of Israel stood on the border to the Promised Land. The heads of each tribe came to Moses with the idea to send in spies to check out the land and Moses agreed it was a good idea. When they returned with a mixed report saying, “It is a good land which the Lord our God is about to give us.” They weren’t willing to go in because there were giants also. I want you to notice what Moses said to them he said, “Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; and you grumbled in your tents and said, Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us” (Deuteronomy 1:25-27). Did you catch that? The Children of Israel had the wrong viewpoint of God, they thought He hated them, so they rebelled.

When I was a child I went to church all the time with my dad and sisters but my understanding at the time was God was a giant Fun-sucker! I’m not saying He was or is, I’m just saying my viewpoint at that time in my life was that God was a demanding, rule-making, nit-picking, no fun having God. All I heard was boys aren’t supposed to have long hair, you shouldn’t listen to that kind of music, etc. I had a wrong impression of who God was, and what He was all about, therefore I rebelled. Don’t misunderstand me, the people in that church didn’t necessarily teach God was that way but it was what was translated through my young ears at the time.

So, like the Children of Israel, I didn’t enter into what God had promised either. Instead I set out to have fun. When I say fun, I mean once I was old enough to drive, as far as church goes, I was out of there! So I spent approximately the next fifteen years of my life partying and enjoying the pleasures of the flesh with the best of them. I never gave God or church any real thought until my world finally caved in and He seemed to be the only one I could turn to. Isn’t it funny how even though I had always seen God as a fun-sucker once the fun had run out of the fleshy life I was ready to give Him a try. I have shared my story several times in this blog so I’m not going to rehash it here. What I wanted to share today is how important it is to have the correct view of God.

One could make the argument that one of the main reasons Jesus, God in the flesh, came here was to reveal God’s true nature to us. Without Him coming to us in the flesh we would probably continue to rebel because we would still think He hated us. This is why the believer is instructed throughout the scriptures to look to Jesus. When we look to Jesus we see who God really is. Although life may throw all sorts of troubling things our way, we can face them with confidence when we understand how much God loves us. He loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son to die our death in order for us to receive everlasting life. Only a God who loves us would do such a thing, right? I encourage you today to get into the Word and discover who God really is apart from all of what you’ve thought and heard in the past. I’m sure as you look to Jesus you, like I, will start to see Him clearer and learn to trust Him more and more. It is only when we trust Him that we begin to walk in all He has promised.



As many know the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is sometimes referred to as “The Love Chapter” and rightfully so. I don’t intend to pick through that whole chapter but I would like to focus your attention on one aspect of it. “Love believes all things & hopes all things.”

My wife Tracey and I found ourselves divorced after five years of marriage. Addiction had completely taken over and ruined our lives but thankfully that’s not the end of the story. After being separated and officially divorced for two years things started to change.

I think it was the year 2000 and I found myself in a methadone treatment program realizing my life was going nowhere. I had a church background and apparently God wasn’t finished with me quite yet. I began an honest and diligent search for answers and direction in life by attempting to read the Bible. Even though at first it didn’t go so well, I was not giving up! I found myself going to church for the first time, at least the first time I really wanted to be there, as an adult. Of course I had attended a few times in the past to soothe Tracey’s desires but never open to receive anything from God.

Now at the age of 31 I found myself truly seeking for the truth I knew was in the Bible but couldn’t quite piece it all together. So I started going to church looking for someone to help me understand the Bible. I knew the answers to my troubles were in that book I just needed someone to show me how to fish them out. As God would have it, after several weeks of attending I ended up at the altar, with Tracey mind you, praying. My prayer was simple. I prayed, “God, you have to show her (Tracey) I mean business!” That was it! I opened myself up for God to do what only He can do and guess what? He did it! That night on my way home I was radically transformed. Jesus called it being born-again.

It wasn’t very long afterwards,  Tracey and I began to talk seriously about getting re-married. She had been living in an apartment owned by a couple who just so happened to be marriage counselors. When Tracey told the man she was going to be moving out because she and I were remarrying he asked her if we would come talk to him first. She asked me about it and I agreed to speak with him first. For those that don’t realize, just the mere fact I agreed to meet with this man, whom I didn’t know mind you, is proof I had been transformed.

We sat in this mans living room for 3 hours listening to him discourage Tracey from marrying me again. He said I would go back to drugs as soon as the first real difficulty came along. Yet another proof I was a new man. The old Louie wouldn’t have stayed to listen to him that long but I knew what had happened to me and knew God had this whole thing and thankfully Tracey did too. She knew me well enough to believe God truly had transformed me so she took the risk and the rest is history. We have been married for 14 years now for the second go at this thing called marriage.

You see love truly does “believe all things and hope all things.” Many times the way someone or something looks or feels isn’t the best way to evaluate them. Jesus had run in after run in with the religious leaders of his day. Time and time again they made the wrong call about Him and His disciples. They got on to Jesus for eating with sinners and went as far as to accuse Jesus of having a demon.

I am not writing this to point a finger of accusation at this man necessarily; but he presented himself as a Christian counselor and yet seemed to have no hope that Christ had, or could change me. When dealing with others and their walk with Christ we aren’t called to be naive but just remember “Love hopes all things and believes all things.” I think this means we never give up hope for others and we continue to believe with, and for, others no matter what. Never forget Christ can transform anyone who is willing to open themselves up to Him.



We’ve been doing a study through Genesis lately and I have been amazed. Abraham truly is the father of the faith. He really didn’t have anything to go by other than hearing and believing God’s voice. He didn’t have anyone to disciple him or show him the way he had to move step by step in faith getting to know God along the way.

When you get to the New Testament you discover the Apostle Paul harkens back to Abraham on many occasions to make his argument about what the New Covenant is all about. For instance in Romans 4 he points us to Abraham to show us how he was declared righteous by simply believing God. He then goes on to explain how Abraham was actually declared righteous before he was circumcised which means he’s the father of all who believe whether they were Jew or Gentile. He tells us circumcision was actually a seal of the righteousness of faith not the reason for it.

You see Abraham lived way before the Law was ever given therefore Paul uses him as an example. The Law was only given as a temporary keeper until the real keeper came along namely Jesus. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

The whole point of the Galatians letter was because those churches had been infiltrated with Judaizers, a group of Jews, who moved in telling them they had to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. Paul vehemently opposed them with some pretty harsh language. He said, “If anyone preaches another gospel let them be cursed!” He then asked the Galatians “who has bewitched you?” It was as if the Judaizers had put a spell on the Galatians by pushing the Law on them. Paul was not going to stand for it for one minute!

Just as in Romans 4, Paul in chapter 3 &4 of the Galatians letter points them back to Abraham. He reminds them Abraham was reckoned righteous by his believing God and not by his circumcision. He then does a brilliant job of explaining how the Promise God had given to Abraham wasn’t cancelled out by the giving of the Law with Moses. The Law in fact was given to lead us to Christ not add to Him.

What has occurred to me is there are significant portions of the New Testament dedicated to teaching believers to keep their eyes on Jesus. It seems we all live with the ever present threat of drifting back to our pre-Christ lifestyle. The book of Hebrews for instance admonishes the Jews to not go back to the Law. I suppose it’s not too difficult to imagine their dilemma. Their whole history was filled with stories of Moses, the commandments, the Temple, priests, sacrifices, etc. Now they’re being told to turn away from all of that and turn to Jesus. For some it was tough to let go.

On the other hand the Gentiles or pagans had their own past to deal with. Most of them came from backgrounds filled with idols, fleshly living or both. Once they came to Christ they had to be told not to return to their idols or heathen lifestyle’s. On top of that there was the added element of some of the Jewish religious leaders trying to convert them to Judaism.

Ultimately the answer is rather simple. Keep your eyes on Jesus! Whether Jewish or Gentile the answer is the same. “Turn your eyes on Jesus!” Make the final decision He is enough. The Law, idols, etc. cannot add anything to Jesus and in fact if we attempt to add anything to Him we will find ourselves turning from Him entirely. This is what Paul meant when he told the Galatians “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law (or anything else for that matter); you have fallen from grace.” You see falling from grace means you are looking somewhere besides the finished work of Christ for your salvation. I don’t think it would be too much to say God has done all He’s going to do for us in His Son Jesus Christ!



There are many Bible passages that can cause apprehension at first glance. Thankfully upon further investigation we can receive some fresh light and discover there’s actually encouragement to be had in place of fear.  The 15th chapter of John and Jesus’ parable of the vine and branches used to be one such passage for me.

Jesus tells us, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:1-3). I have to admit I have struggled in the past attempting to understand what Jesus meant by “He takes away”, and “He prunes.” The good news is I think I’ve finally come to some understanding of these statements and found peace and even encouragement in them.

“He takes away” can also be translated as “He lifts up.” Whew! That changes everything don’t you think? I mean there’s a big difference between taking the branch away and lifting it up, right? You see Jesus is talking about how the vine-dresser might find branches laying on the ground from time to time. He would come along, lift them up, and put them back on the trellis.

Jesus’ talk of “pruning” brought its own touch of fright because all I could think of when I heard the word “prunes” was those particular branches were to be cut off. Thankfully I discovered “He prunes” also could be translated another way. If you look at the verse immediately after the pruning statement, in verse 3, you’ll see where Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” The term “He prunes” and “clean” are the same. So you see what’s really happening here is the vine-dresser comes along, discovers some of his branches are lying in the mud, so he lifts them up and cleans them off.

Ultimately what Jesus is saying in this passage is His Father is the vine-dresser and His goal is to produce the most fruit He can possibly get in His vineyard. In fact Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit…” (verse 8). So you see our role in all of this is to simply “abide.” That’s it! All we have to do is abide in Christ; and He will produce the fruit through us.