In the frustrations of work, God is reminding us to look to him. He is saying, look to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are fleeting, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). He is where we will find the fulfillment and glory we seek, and eventually, Jesus will return for his children. At that moment, he will make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.
Last week was a rough work week. First, it was exhausting due to its long hours. Second, my health gave me some trouble, and third, I dropped one of the many balls I have been juggling on a project, and now I am cleaning up the pieces. None of these issues were that significant in and of themselves, but they piled up and weighed me down.
My emotional response is what I found to be the most interesting. I found myself under it all instead of on top of it. Once defeat set in, even the minor issues felt daunting. I expected my work to bring me fulfillment, but it offered me frustration.
What I was experiencing was the effect of the curse; the thorns and thistles that accompany every job and make the sweat pour from our brows (Genesis 3:17-19). It was nothing out of the ordinary in a fallen world, but I was reminded that life is not the way it should be, and the fruit of our labor is rarely produced with ease.
It is not only the world that is not as it should be; we, too, are fallen. It was not the curse alone I was dealing with last week.
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By Sara M. Moniuszko — 11 months ago
April Lexi Lee and Renee Wong have been best friends since they were 12. After supporting each other through the highs and lows of life, school and boyfriends, they took their relationship to the next level by becoming platonic life partners.
When Lee, 24, moved from Singapore to Los Angeles for college, the best friends became long-distance but remained emotionally strong. And as the pandemic hit and they both graduated, they felt this “gravitation” towards each other.
“We work so well together. We’re such great partners and support each other and love each other so much. We never see each other leaving each other,” Lee explains, recounting their train-of-thought. “So why is this not a stable foundation to start life and start a family and all those things? Why is that not as stable, even more stable, than a traditional, romantic marriage?”
Then it clicked. Wong moved to the United States to become Lee’s platonic life partner.
“I wasn’t even interested in marriage to begin with, neither of us were,” Lee says. “But then with each other, we suddenly saw the future and we were like, ‘This fits. I would do this with you.’ ”
She describes the partnership as “a deep platonic love and also a commitment to each other, like marriage, where we are trying to build the next step for our lives together.” This includes things that “typically married couples would do” like starting a family and having a joint bank account to achieve their goals of buying a house and more.
Why People Choose Platonic Life Partnerships
For Jay Guercio, 24, a platonic life partnership “just made sense” after realizing how much her life goals aligned with her best friend Krystle, who she first met in 2012 and had filled her life with “companionship, love, laughter and adventure.”
“We want to raise kids the same way. We have the same ideas as what finances should look like. We are already symbiotic in how we work,” she said. “There’s no reason to keep on waiting to hopefully find a partner who is going to align with all those things that also happens to be romantic and/or sexual in nature when it just made sense to start building the life that we wanted to live together.”
Fast forward and now they raise their adopted son together after getting platonically married in November 2020.
Guercio describes a platonic partnership as “a committed relationship to someone that doesn’t involve romance or sex.”
Cyndi Darnell, a certified clinical sexologist, therapist and couple’s counselor, says platonic partnerships can “absolutely” be as successful as a traditional marriage, because “partnership is based on shared values.”
“If you want to create a partnership based on values that are meaningful to you as individuals… I actually think that that’s a better model than the notion of romance, which we know is fickle,” she adds. “To rely on something as unreliable as romance for a contract as heavy as co-parenting and marriage seems to be why these things seem to be diametrically opposed on some level.”
Historically, marriage also hasn’t been about love, she points out.
“When we think about the origins of marriage, it was never about love. And it was certainly never about romance. It was about asset management.”
Guercio agrees partnerships like her own are centered around “mutual benefit.”
“It’s about purposefully deciding to live the life that you want to live together because those things align. It’s not just getting into a committed relationship with someone because you have sexual feelings.”
Darnell doesn’t view this as a bad route.
By Benjamin Glaser — 4 weeks ago
It’s hard to give a defense for the faith that is within you if you can’t give up the things of the world in order to follow Christ. We show the world how we love Jesus a lot more by how we act and prioritize our life than what we say to them in words. If we do not value the things of God then as the example of the Northern Kingdom shows us the Lord will take them away from us, and then where will we be? Our idols can never give what we lose in not having the fulness of Christ in our being and in our soul.
Jet lag is a thing, but I seem to be handling it well and without much trouble. I was a little bit on the struggle bus yesterday for morning and evening worship along with Sabbath School. However, the Spirit was faithful to give me strength and lead me through it all. It helped that we had a luncheon that fueled me with all the great food I may have missed while in Namibia. Bethany folks can cook like no one’s business and the fact that I was honored to receive so many cards and well-wishes for pastor’s appreciation it made it easy to serve. I am truly a blessed man.
Of the many lessons I learned while at the International Conference of Reformed Churches is that the world is at the same time a lot smaller than I once thought and also a lot bigger at the same time. What I mean by that is when I had the opportunity to speak to folks in the local churches in Windhoek they spoke of similar issues (materialism, globalism, busyness, etc…) that our church back in Clover deals with. There truly is nothing new under the sun. Yet, on the other hand the stories I heard from brothers in India, Indonesia, and Northern Ireland reminded me that while we have issues in the United States they pale in comparison to what our brothers and sisters face in Europe, Africa, and Asia. We are truly privileged to experience what little persecution we undergo in North America. That is not to downplay the real troubles we have on the horizon, but we are not quite in the same ballpark as some of our other brothers. In our prayer and worship help today I want to talk a little bit about what we can learn from how they are handling these troubles for when the piper comes calling on our shores.
As I sat and conversated with brothers from South Sudan as an example a thing that one of the men chuckled in jest as he said it was that they have no chaff in their churches. What he meant by that was that in a cultural situation where being named a follower of Christ has fatal consequences in some cases no one is going to pretend to be a believer. He wasn’t communicating that his local congregation was made up of only the elect, but that serious believers made up the totality of the membership.
By Rick Plasterer — 4 months ago
Both the PCA and the CRC have made godly decisions in line with Scripture (although at different places in the struggle for Biblical morality); continued courage and perseverance against sin will be necessary to remain and become ever more faithful churches of God.
Christians have a duty to obey God in all circumstances, regardless of the cost. This doesn’t change even if there is no institutional support, as this writer discussed several years ago. But it is better if we have a church faithful to the Word of God to be part of. In our day, faithfulness is measured by fidelity to the sexual morality revealed in Scripture. When a denomination makes its decision on this, it decides everything – whether it will continue in faithfulness to God and his gospel of salvation from sin, or whether it will follow the world and its gospel of self-actualization and gratification.
Summer is the time when Protestant denominations’ governing bodies commonly meet, and just as this has been a momentous summer for the Supreme Court, so it has been for three denominations considered Evangelical in recent decades, which met and took decisive action in one direction or another.
Other than certain differences on questions of divorce and remarriage, sexual morality was not much of an issue for churches before the sexual revolution. Even here, the standard of divorceless opposite-sex monogamy is clear from Scripture, and the general acceptance of this by a Christian society made any admonitions to sexual purity focus on avoiding the temptations of fornication and adultery. Commands against sodomy in both testaments were strong and clear, and to common sense admitted of no exceptions.
Beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and the advent of a movement for homosexual liberation, it became necessary to make binding pronouncements against homosexuality (although to previous generations the Biblical condemnations would have been quite sufficient for church discipline). What then followed was denominations with formal statements against homosexual practice and growing minorities in vocal dissent, moved by the larger society and activist groups within the denominations. Eventual formal acceptance of homosexuality today comes in the form of formally accepting same-sex marriage. Those who disagree either leave the church or find a personal justification for remaining.
More than a year ago, this writer reviewed an excellent defense of opposite-sex only monogamy by a pastor in the Mennonite Church U.S.A., Darrin W. Synder Belousek, who offered a Biblical defense of opposite-sex only monogamy independent of the Biblical condemnations of homosexuality. Synder Belousek was concerned about the drift of his denomination toward the acceptance of same-sex marriage. Earlier the denomination’s largest conference, the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, had left the denomination, concerned about the increasing acceptance of homosexuality.
Late this spring, as was reported at the beginning of last month, the Mennonite Church U.S.A. formally accepted same-sex marriage, and signaled an utter rejection of Christian sexual morality in effectively apologizing for its previous Biblical standard, calling for repentance from it. Typical of the current homosexual/transgender apologetic, it effectively claims that the pain and humiliation Biblical morality causes is sufficient to establish that it is oppressive, setting aside God’s absolute authority, and Jesus’ call to accept the painful, narrow gate to life.