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Three things you need to ‘stay in’ this season

During our COVID “quarantine” my wife and I studied Keys to Freedom by Nancy Alcorn.

I want to share with you some habits that help us maintain freedom for life, using an all too familiar concept.

Recently, our schools in Buckingham announced they are “staying in” for nine weeks instead of returning to a hybrid of in-person school and online studies. The governor recently warned that if the numbers continue to go up in Virginia, drastic actions may have to be taken. Remember the quarantine this past spring? Perhaps that might be revisited? In any case, this pastor wants you to stay in. I’m not talking about your home. But there are a few specific places I want you to stay in.

First, stay in prayer. Prayer means more than bowing your head and reciting your needs to God. Prayer is the essence of your personal relationship with God. It is to your spiritual life what breathing is to your physical life. Open dialogue with your Creator is not just a nice, spiritual idea, it’s the foundation for the Christian life. Just believing the right things is not enough.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:23 “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” He didn’t say, “Depart from Me because you believed some wrong things about Me or you didn’t do enough for Me.” He said He didn’t “know” them, meaning He did not have a vital relationship with them. The basis of relationship is communication, and that starts with simply talking to God. Or as we say in church, “prayer.” Prayer changes every situation and every life circumstance.

Second, stay in the word. As important as it is for us to feed our bodies daily, it is even more important for us to feed our souls (Mathew 4:4). God’s Word is not a snack, dessert, or optional course – it is the main course. Read God’s Word. Give it priority over social media and email.

Third – stay in church. I believe the enemy has targeted the church for destruction. Even though we at FBC Dillwyn have been having in-person worship gatherings since May 24, it’s not the church that we knew. There are no handshakes or hugs. Choirs are not to sing. It’s church, but not the way we know it.

Online worship is a tool, but it’s not the answer. The Bible is clear about church: “Let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We need fellowship, accountability and worship together.

God’s church will outlast the coronavirus. However, it looks like for you now, stay in church. These are just a few ways that this pastor wants you to “stay in.” May you find freedom in “staying in.”

REV. JOHN MOXLEY can be reached at Jmoxley1@juno.com.