We’re into Week 4, but before we finish, here are my notes on Week 3. This week was one of history and His Story for us. Would we praise Him only when we’re running around in our new, colorful coats, or would we remain true – trusting in God alone when the blessings come in the pain, rain, and tears?
Chapter 3…Sunday and Wednesday of week 3:
Remember we deal with two stories since the choice of Adam and Eve. The Lower Story – our will be done. The Upper Story – God’s will be done.
Joseph…boy wonder to wondering man.
What do we do when things don’t go the way we think they should?
Lower Story Responses:
We can fight God’s plan
We can tell God what to do…give Him counsel
usually we don’t say “God take away my stuff.” – it’s more like “God I need more…”
We can give up – quit God.
live for me
Job’s wife thought this way. Hadn’t her husband given all glory and honor to God, and look what happened to him! Didn’t he deserve better than this?
(Ahh, this is my way far too often. I say, “But I’ve done this and this and this, God! Don’t I deserve this?” Do I? Does God really owe me? Is He really indebted to me? Have I, then, dethroned Him and made myself God in my own eyes? So, then, I make my life in Him about my works; deny faith, deny the work of Christ that makes me whole, and say “more…or else!”)
Upper Story Responses:
Wait with patient obedience
Do what’s right and let God work out the situations/consequences
I cannot control others, neither could Joseph, but I can control my responses and obedience and allegiance.
I can always choose to honor God!
Joseph’s responses did not depend on his circumstances – only his love and trust in God.
Our problem: we want to know the WHOLE STORY NOW!
we want a microwave life, instead of a crock-pot one (I just had both this weekend. One was definitely better than the other!)
we are a no-wait culture and we are not obedient while we wait!
Joseph lived in the Upper Story while living out in the Lower Story – he did it with peace because he was at peace with God.
(Imagine if Joseph had been given a glimpse of what was to come, even if he had seen how he would be a part of saving Israel. Do you think he’d have still agreed to all the hardship if given the chance to “see”? We wouldn’t either!)
So, how do we live like that?
We must believe that God knows better than we do! Just like we as parents know better than our children do.
Let go of the need to know why.
Not knowing everything might be for our own good! It was for Adam and Eve and all of creation, yes? Yet, they chose to eat from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” precisely because they wanted to know everything!
if we knew, we would try to rewrite with our own limited scope…this story has to be written by the Author, not the characters!
So what do I do? TRUST AND OBEY…for there’s no other way..!
The only way to see this Story properly is through the Author’s eyes!
We often miss the main event because we leave too early or expect way too little. (We really are far too easily pleased! We were made for God-made greatness, and we trade it for man-made small-ness.)
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Eph. 3:20
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. I Peter 1
Why do we trade our guaranteed “millions” for less? How often to we trade his priceless for the worthless?
Joseph knew what he had; so, he didn’t compromise!
Do you really believe God’s ways are better than yours?
Do not get lost in the Lower Story!
14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,
“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to teach him?”
But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2
The understanding of the Upper Story is directly related to those seeking, learning, and growing in The Spirit.
The Upper Story exists in the Lower Story.
hard to understand it to those living in the Lower Story
hard to explain it if you live in the Upper Story
those living in the Upper Story will look unique to those in the Lower Story – so those in the Upper Story need to live consistently and be ready for those in the Lower Story! (I Peter 3:15)
Joseph explains Pharoah’s dreams.
The Lower Story is where even the most Upper Story person lives.
Pharoah’s dreams are Upper Story and his interpreters are Lower Story people – they don’t get it! Joseph, who lives by the Upper Story, can get it!
There are no easy answers in a world that denies the Upper Story.
How do we respond to the Upper Story Answers?
Intimidated by it?
we can develop an intense dislike for this world and the Lower Story
we want to protect ourselves and our families – just us and God. Instead of being moved by Compassion, we become repelled.
Engage! (Joseph’s response.)
every time the Lower Story comes at me, engage in it with my Upper Story perspective.
we are called to this kind of living where we don’t flinch from being a person of God in a God-less world.
there needs to be a recognizable person of God around when the Lower Story person starts needing Upper Story answers!
When things get desperate in the Lower Story, will you be ready in the Upper Story?
Are you known as a Bible Guy or Bible Girl?
I am still asking this question for my life: HOW DO I DO “EVERYTHING” TO SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS? HOW DO I BECOME ALL TO ALL MEN IN ORDER TO WIN THEM? WE AREN’T CALLED TO JOIN THE SIN BUT WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE THE SINNER? WHAT’S TOO FAR? HOW MUCH DO WE GET INTO THE LOWER STORY? HOW MUCH CAN WE GET INTO THE LOWER STORY AND STILL BE UPPER STORY PEOPLE? (Join this discussion on the Meridian Point Church facebook page.)