"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, June 29, 2018


INTRODUCTION: We here at The TRUTH Under FIRE are blessed to announce that we have assembled a new team of guest writers who will periodically share biblical insights, lessons and informative, encouraging articles by the grace of God: We have Greg Reid, and pastors Bob Lawrenz, and Sonny Islas with prospects of some more potential members that, LORD willing may join our TTUF Team as researchers, administrative assistants and writers (you can view the biographies of all our TTUF team members here;

Here is a brief biography of Sonny:

Sonny Islas was born on April 8, 1980 in Tucson, Arizona to a Christian family of 7. Though raised in a Christian home, during his teen years, he associated with the wrong crowd, which led him to do shameful and remorseful things. After watching some of his closest friends die due to drugs and gangs, he began to really ponder eternity, life after death, hell and the consequences of sin. This caused a holy fear of God to grip his heart.

He, then, eagerly began attending church again and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ at the age of 16. He was immediately baptized. The first few years were a bit rough. However, at the age of 16, he felt an inner calling to preach. By the time Sonny turned 18, the inward calling took fruition. While a senior in high school, he was asked to give bible studies during lunch. During this time God gave him a genuine hunger for the Word. 

Furthermore, he was also asked to preach on Friday nights at his local church to the youth group. God continued to open doors, as he was consistently invited to preach by different churches-- small and large, both in and out of town. He served in many ways such as; preaching, Christian rap music, leading worship, missions trips, evangelism of all kinds, and leading teen and young adult ministry. Sonny comes from an extensive line of preachers, pastors, worship leaders, Christian musicians, evangelist and ministry workers of all kinds.

He married at the age of 23 and is still with the love of his life today. Sonny and his wife have two sons, 13 and 10. After serving in youth ministry and evangelism, Sonny served as an Assistant Pastor to his oldest brother for a few years. At age of 30, he felt the calling to become a lead pastor himself and to plant a sister church. God grieved Sonny’s heart for the souls of men who are being destroyed by false teachings and by the blinding of Satan. His desire was to preach God’s inerrant Word by the power of the Spirit, that men would turn to Christ as they hear the Gospel Message. After 4 years of much prayer and patience, the leadership took a step of faith to send Sonny, in June of 2014, to the most spiritually bankrupt part of town where the E.L.W Church South was born. That desire has become the heart of the ministry by the Grace of God. This July of 2018, The E.L.W. Church South faith family celebrates 4 years and Sonny celebrates 20 years of ministry and 15 years of marriage. The LORD has been good and faithful to work his will and purpose in Sonny.

By Sonny Islas, pastor of SHINE BRIGHT Church, formerly Eternal Living Word Church, Southside.

The focus is on events that took place in 2 CHRONICLES 25 and 26. Uzziah becomes the King of Judah at the tender age of 16. But instead of staying the course and remaining loyal to the God who gave him the throne, he became puffed up and followed the fatal footsteps of his foolish father.
Now, Uzziah’s father, king Amaziah had an honorable start. 

2 CHRONICLES 25:2 says,
He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a loyal heart.’’ 

King Amaziah obeyed the word of God concerning execution. He obeyed the man of God when warned not to team up with Israel for war because God was against Israel at this time. His obedience which only stems from a humble heart was greatly rewarded by God who gave him victory over the Edomites in battle. Amaziah slaughtered twenty thousand Edomite soldiers.

While he was at war with the Edomites, Israel’s soldiers, the ones he had discharged due to the word of the Lord, out of anger towards Amaziah, raided some cities in Judah, killed three thousand people and took much spoil. This was clearly the consequence of making an unwise decision in uniting with Israel which he repented of later. 

There is a principle to be learned here-- don’t team up with God’s enemies to do ministry because when it’s time to part ways, they may do some damage to you and your ministry behind your back. Then Amaziah did the unthinkable! 

Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them.” 

This obviously angered the LORD. Through a prophet, God rebukes Amaziah and even gives him a chance to repent of his stupidity (idolatry) and outrageous arrogance. Amaziah rejects God’s warning and in retaliation, he decides to pick a fight with Joash the king of Israel because Amaziah is deceived into thinking that just as God gave him the Edomites, God will now give him Israel.

But little did Amaziah know that his pride now caused God to side with his enemy Israel. Joash clearly sees Amaziah’s pride in all of this. 

In 2 CHRONICLES 25:19 Joash sends a message to Amaziah saying,
Indeed you say that you have defeated the Edomites, and your heart is lifted up to boast. Stay at home now; why should you meddle with trouble, that you should fall—you and Judah with you?” 

The pride of victory blinded Amaziah’s heart and eyes. Because of Amaziah’s pride and detestable sin, God used Israel to teach Amaziah a lesson. And the lesson was painful and costly, i.e. Joash broke some of Jerusalem’s wall, raided the Temple, took gold and silver articles and hostages to Samaria. Eventually, king Amaziah became a fugitive and was later murdered. Amaziah apostatized.

His pride cost him everything, His favor with God, His throne, his power, even his very life.

Back to Uzziah his son who reigned in his place. Uzziah had a fresh start. An opportunity to do right in the sight of the LORD from beginning to end. But, as we’ll soon see, the same disease of pride that corroded his father’s heart will soon corrode his.

The condition and blessed promise to Uzziah was that “as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.’’ Uzziah prospered greatly in war. God helped him to defeat the Philistines and a few other surrounding cities. He was empowered by God to conquer and build. He had great triumphs and achievements. He raised up a powerful army and invented very impressive weapons. His fame was widespread because “he was marvelously helped (by God) TILL he became strong.” 

All was good and flourishing UNTIL he became prideful! 
2 CHRONICLES 26:16 says, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction” 

His prideful heart led him like a cruel slave trader yanks his slave with a rope to the Temple of the LORD to burn incense, which was forbidden for kings to do.
The burning of incense was strictly the work of the priest.
Another lesson—do everything God’s way and stick to what God has called you to do.
He broke God’s Law and despised God’s instructions regarding the burning of incense. And to add insult to injury, when the priests rebuked him, he becomes furious with them. 

Then, God strikes Uzziah’s forehead with leprosy!

Could this serve as a reminder of the plate that was to be placed on the front of the turban over the forehead of the High Priest that read, “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD?” Maybe. He was then kicked out of the Temple, isolated and cut off from the House of the LORD because leprosy became his portion and discipline until his death. In the end, his legacy was marked by four cold words “He is a leper.” In other words, “He is prideful.”

Leprosy is caused by bacteria that affects the nervous system which then leads to numbness, which leads to loss of body parts do to repeated unnoticed injuries.
Doesn’t this describe both Amaziah’s and Uzziah’s pride and fate?

Pride is also spiritual bacteria that causes numbness towards God’s gentle cautions, rebukes, convictions and warnings which then leads Him to pull away and allows us to fall apart until we humble ourselves.

Pride pushes God away and makes us do things our way like Amaziah and his idolatry or like Uzziah and the burning of the incense. Pride led these two men down a dark and lonely road. 

Like Amaziah, God may let the enemy take a bite out of our ministry “success” if we become prideful. 

If we like Uzziah, stop seeking the LORD for everything, watch out!
As we can see, God has no problem with dethroning men, causing them great pain and replacing them. Always remember, “God gives grace to the humble, but He resist the proud!” In this sad case, like father like son.

This concludes this article by Sonny Islas.

Pride is a kind of ‘spiritual leaven’ that puffs us up and corrupts. Here is a related article on the issue of sin, pride and false doctrine:

Remember that P.R.I D.E. = Personal Rebellion: I Desire Evil!

For more on the issue of pride and the dangers of success, see the following:

ALSO By Sonny Islas, a great series on HINDERANCES TO PRAYER; here are Parts One and Two

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