Van Yandell

Ephesians 6:19 “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”

There were several medium sized trees in my yard leaning slightly toward the house. I think of a tree about sixteen inches in diameter and fifty or more feet tall as being “medium size.” Not being properly equipped to cut them myself, I called a reputable tree removal service.

An estimator came and gave us a price. He asked, “What do you want done with the stumps?” To bring in a stump grinder would have made such a mess and was, what I considered, extraordinarily expensive. I told him to leave them and I’d deal with them.

When the three pine trees were gone and the crew moved to the other side of the yard, I dug around the stumps and prepared to cut them off below the ground. My chain saws were already prepared for the job, so it was just a matter of digging about six inches below the surface to start the cut.

Several months ago, I read an article, “Don’t forget the squats.” After reading, I stood up and tried to do a few of those. The procedure is basically sitting down without anything to sit on. As my knees bent and my hind-quarters went nearly to the floor, the pain in the knees was excruciating. They not only hurt, they screamed and burned like fire.

In my old age, I’d forgotten one must exercise all body parts to remain flexible. The knees are no exception. Most days, if I do not get too busy and forget it, I do sit-ups to prevent back pain. I still ride my bicycle, jog, walk, and sometimes even work up to a full-out run (the runs are becoming shorter).

The question entered my mind, “Did the guy that wrote that article know me and was trying to cause me pain?” The obvious answer is, “No.” The article would ultimately help me and that wasn’t realized at the time. I began doing a few squats every day when I did my sit-ups and after a few weeks was actually up to five per day. That’s all it took.

At first I bent my back to get down in order to saw off the stumps below ground. After about half way through the first stump, the back pain was starting to scream out at me. In the procedure, rather than stop sawing, I bent my legs into a squat position to finish the cut.

Fully into the third stump, I realized what was happening. My knees were bent to the point my hips were touching my heels and it did not hurt one bit. “Wow, an old guy shouldn’t be able to do this,” I thought.

Many of us have realized, if we want to remember something important, we must write it down. Then, sometimes we lose our calendar or notebook and that simply compounds the problem. Days I have numerous chores or errands, those must be put on paper or they will be undone at the end of the day. I have a smart phone with a reminder app but the phone manages to lose itself quite frequently. If I try to dial it with the land-line, in order to locate it, it will invariably be turned off.

There are some things in my old age that come naturally: eat, nap, cook, nap, get dressed, nap, take my vitamin pills, nap; you get the point I’m sure. To exercise and keep vulnerable points worked out such as knees, shoulders and back just doesn’t come naturally. It must be a conscious effort until it becomes a habit

However, in our Christian lives, out prayer time, Bible study, and benevolence time must be practiced until it becomes a part of us. If I fail to do my squats and sit-ups, the pain will return and remind me, but I’ll live through it. If I fail at my Bible study, very soon, the habit will be gone. I’ve found to give myself a focus is beneficial. Keeping my Bible out on the desk reminds me it must be opened and read.

Last spring (spring of 2020) I started making Youtube videos to supplement Bible study because so many churches were dismissed. Making those has helped me stay focused and provides mental exercise elderly people need. Log on to and type in “Sunday morning with Bro Van # (1-38).”

Why must we require reminding in order to stay connected with our Creator? Because we are human we get side-tracked and very certainly become preoccupied with other things. One of the penalties for living in a modern world is that so many other activities compete for our time.

We are starting to see estimates of the people that will never return to church because of the dismissals and cancellations due to the Coronavirus. Numbers from thirty percent to seventy percent have been published. The supposition exists there will be a decrease in church attendance after the virus ends and the numbers at this point are uncertain.

Does this classify church attendance as a habit? Keep in mind there are positive addictions as well as negative addictions. This being the case, church attendance is habit forming. A direct result of the virus will be an apostasy situation such as stated in 1 Timothy 4: 1 “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

I really do not think many will depart from the faith but there very well may be a decline in church attendance. Those “seducing spirits” Paul referred to may very well be these twenty-first century gadgets that take so much of our time.

As I had let the muscles around my knees become weak because of not doing the appropriate exercises, we inadvertently allow our connection with God grow cold. Just as physical exercise is a continuous, conscious endeavor, so is our relationship with God.