Into The Storm

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Into the Storm

Positioning the Heart to Encounter Wonder

Matt Pettry

 

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from

the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and

threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an

earthquake (Revelation 8:4-5).

 

Lightning does strike twice in the same place. In fact, there is a place that lightning

strikes again and again night and day. It is the highest seat of power and the holiest

place in existence. As such, the purest form of worship surrounds it. No worshipper

there gives a half-hearted song. There are no “Jesus is My Homeboy” t-shirts worn

where elders throw down their crowns. That lightning proceeding from the throne

of Jesus keeps everyone guessing. Who can predict the path of lightning? Worship in

heaven is unpredictable, sparking awe-filled wonder in the saints, elders, and

angels. No one just sings songs there. They tremble. They are so caught up in God’s

splendor that most of them just repeat themselves; “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.”

Encountering the sights and sounds surrounding the throne enables any bored

song-singer to recover the wonder of it all. There is a beautiful storm all around His

throne. Enter the wonder-filled storm and receive devotional lightnings.

 

Many do not consider this, but the Book of Revelation is a glimpse into an Apostle’s

devotional life. He was a human being, just like you and I named John. He begins the

book saying “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” and ends the book with an “Amen.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.” So, reading Revelation is really a glimpse into a lightning-

hearted disciple’s prayer closet. John has released wonder-filled- worship at the

holiest place in existence, God’s throne, and as a result, returns from Heaven with

thunder on his words to change the world.

 

Positioning Ourselves To Enter This Wonder-filled Storm

 

John’s statement, “I was in the Spirit…” doesn’t mean that he was in the natural

realm and then suddenly entered the realm of the Spirit, the realm of wonder. An

actual rendering of this verse suggests that John “came to be in the Spirit.” John

positioned himself to be in the Spirit. John did not encounter the throne of Yahweh

by sitting around waiting for something to happen. He positioned himself in

devotion. We can position ourselves in devotion so that we may “come to be in the

Spirit.” John was making lightning on the inside. He was positioning himself in the

Spirit. More specifically, he was cultivating personal intensity before God through

the spiritual disciplines of prayer and solitude on Patmos. The result of positioning

himself in the Spirit enabled him to worship before the throne and return in the

power of the Spirit. I like to say he was becoming the Lord’s vent.

 

Devotional Reformers

 

Lightning is formed because of an unbalanced electrical charge in the atmosphere

during a storm. A person full of interior lightning becomes that way because they’ve

embraced an unbalanced devotional lifestyle in the wonder-storm. It was a storm

that made a sixteenth century reformer named Martin Luther. He responded to the

call of God on his life during a real lightning storm that almost took his life. He was

so terrified by the strikes flashing closely by that he cried out to God to save him. He

vowed that if the Lord would spare his life from the storm he would become a monk,

and so he did. But the pressure wasn’t off. After entering the rigors of monastic life,

Luther would become a reformer as he gave himself to relentless search for God in

Scripture and an overhaul of his own devotional life. His unbalanced devotion to

Jesus over tradition, while sparked by a natural storm at first, would eventually

produce a spiritual storm, an unbalanced hunger for truth. Luther lived out the

proverb, “If a man’s life be lightning his voice will be thunder.”

 

Luther began to vent those fiery truths of the bible that had kindled in his heart with

the boldness of David facing Goliath. He took the hammer of God’s word and nailed

his arguments to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany on All Saints Day

1517. This event sparked the Protestant Reformation. What Luther saw in the

Scripture was vastly different than what the religion of his day forced upon him.

The truth of God’s word was like a volcano in Luther’s heart and the result was a

man venting through preaching, writing, praying, and reforming culture. I believe

we are in desperate need of tenderhearted devotional reformers today that reform

the Church to a Kingdom expression focused on the beautiful King.

 

When a person with a bright heart and conviction on their words encounters the

Wonder Realm of God, we’ve got a messenger, a builder, a discipler of nations. In

Revelation 4, John stood in the stormy presence of God on His throne. John said,

“From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder” (Rev.

4:5). It is no surprise that John came out of this experience with a life as lightning

and words as thunder to the church and the culture.

 

Can you imagine being the first person to talk with John when he got off the island of

Patmos? Can you imagine his urgency to deliver those prophecies to the seven

churches in Asia Minor? After his encounter at the throne, can you imagine John’s

resolve to see Jesus glorified in the nations of the earth? I don’t think there is a

church today ready for that John. Perhaps, it’s that wonder-struck John we need the

most. This man had just been to the stormy throne of God, saw unique

manifestations of the beauty of Jesus, heard Jesus call the churches to be triumphant

overcomers, heard Jesus declare what He values in those believers, heard Jesus

warn believers that their names could be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life, and

heard Him warn churches that their Lampstands could be removed. This man was a

lightning bolt. John was anything but balanced. What would our response be today

if John walked into our churches fresh from Patmos?

 

Get Back In Your Cage

 

Devotional reformers are always told, “it doesn’t take all that.” But they’ve entered

the storm and encountered the Wonder Realm in Jesus. They are no longer bent

toward backsliding. It is as if they’ve been magnetized toward Jesus on the throne.

They’re wonder struck. The demonstration of His love on the cross has stirred them

to respond with whole-hearted obedience. When they are told “It doesn’t take all

that,” it sounds to these wonder-filled- worshipers like “Get back in your religious

cage.” That’s not happening.

 

They believe that our secret place can look like the book of Revelation and that our

walk with Jesus can look like the book of Acts. They’ve refused the taming of

religion. An encounter with the Wonder Realm released lightning before their eyes

and filled them with lightning on the inside. This interior lightning and internal

flame must have a vent. The Lord’s vent, that is what a witness for Jesus is. That is

what a reformer is. A reformer allows the Lord to vent through them to impact

change for God’s glory in the lives of others.

 

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole

body also is full of light.” (Luke 11:34)

 

Of course, reformers must start the reformation with themselves. They’ve allowed

the candle of the Lord to thoroughly search their darkest places, received grace to

change, and have become a change agent for the Kingdom. Surely, they’ve allowed

Jesus to mantle them with His jealousy. It is real to them that they belong to a God

who refuses to share them. Jesus has great desire to protect what is precious to Him

and to remove anything that hinders loyal love. So this pure jealous lightning in

their heart comes out, or vents with thunder; it is going to be heard.

 

Three Questions to Consider as You Enter The Wonder-Storm:

1. Can you identify storms in your life that impacted your devotion to God? Did

you shrink back or did the storm actually set you up to move more toward

God?

2. What is it that you burn for? Can you identify your passions or things that

you want to see set right? Ask the Lord how you can become the Lord’s vent.

3. What is it that you do to position yourself in the Spirit?

Sign up to get  Making Lightning free!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

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Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

You are about to experience the flaming heart of God!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

You are about to experience the flaming heart of God!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

 

Get a free copy of 'Making Lightning' when you subscribe!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

 

Get a free copy of 'Making Lightning' when you subscribe!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

 

Get a free copy of 'Making Lightning' when you subscribe!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.

Are you sick of normal, weary with trying to pacify your holy cravings? 

You are about to experience the flaming heart of God!

Making Lightning is about positioning our hearts to encounter the majesty of Jesus and restoring our sense of wonder. Download this free ebook so you can discover how to engage the awe-filled wonder of God’s Presence and cultivate a tender heart towards God and others by setting fire to spiritual disciplines.