America

IN...DEPENDENCE

July 1, 2011 Read: 1 Peter 3

"So he went and preached to the spirits in prison." --1 Peter 3:19

This weekend we celebrate freedom. As a nation, we proudly hail the day we loosened the chains of tyranny from Great Britain. At PrayFit we want to salute the men and women who never lived to enjoy the freedom they fought to protect. Their memory is a reminder both in celebration and memoriam, that freedom is never free.

As believers, we too celebrate freedom; from our past, today's worry and fear of tomorrow. Those prisons have no key, but the cross stamps pardon on our hearts and the doors open. We're meant to live free indeed.

Friends, when it comes to our health, many of us have a burning desire to be free; from guilt, from diets, and from sedentary lifestyles. But no "how-to" guide or fitness guru is more able to help you achieve abundant health than the one who breathed it into our lungs in the first place. Because of His broad stripes, He's the only one we'll need when our health loses its final perilous fight with pain. Surely, we can trust Him with it in the meantime.

--J.P.

HEART HEALTH BULLETIN

Your heart is a muscle. And just like the rest of the muscles in your body, it responds positively to exercise. So it should come as no surprise that doctors are starting to turn away from long-held "rest and relaxation" approaches to heart health and rehabilitation, instead urging patients to train harder than ever. A more efficient heart, they rationalize, is better at delivering blood and oxygen to working muscles for everything from a walk to your car after work to a no-holds barred weight workout. This can fortify you against cardiovascular disease, help you recover from a heart incident and maintain a healthier overall weight.

>> ABC News delivers the details here.

>> RELATED: An introduction to high-intensity interval cardio

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FIT TOGETHER

January 18, 2011Read: Matthew 18

"For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them." --Matthew 18:20

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college, would be those times when coach would huddle us up to give us words of motivation. We'd all take a knee, and at the end, he'd say, "Everybody in." He'd put out his hand, and we'd stand to put ours atop his. At that very moment, there was nothing more important. I learned then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

I thought of those old memories today because a small group from El Paso formed a new PrayFit huddle this week. They're teaming together to share faith, fitness and accountability because they know our health is an obligation as well as a means of praise.

Speaking of small groups, we don't know what all was said among the disciples in the upper room, on shorelines, or on hillsides, but something tells me they huddled. When it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. And to think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan. Powerful.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

In this country, there are just as many people who exercise regularly as those that don't. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, 35% of adults 18 years and older were found to engage in regular physical activity. The same study showed that a full 33% engaged in zero leisure time activity at all.

So if you're part of the 35%, then bravo. But this shows that some 65% of Americans do not exercise regularly.

Care for another stat? According to the CDC, 34% of Americans 20 and over are obese.

The message is clear: it's time for us to get moving.

Source: CDC

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DRAWING CONCLUSIONS

September 21, 2010Read: 2 Corinthians 3

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." -- 2 Corinthians 3:18

We recently took my brother and his family to Universal Studios in Los Angeles (Calif). He's got two young boys so naturally they wanted to hit the roller coasters, leaving yours truly holding the bags. But turns out, there's plenty to do with your feet firmly on the ground.

So while my family was busy doing loopdiloops, I had a caricature made of myself. "Why not?", I reasoned. The man said, "Step right up", so I plopped right down. Those passing by would take a look at the drawing, then up at me, then back to the drawing. I suppose they wanted to see if the picture being painted resembled the real thing. Well, after I paid Picasso, I walked back toward my family holding a cartoon of a stranger. But how could I be bitter? He only drew what he saw.

As Christians, we're supposed to resemble Jesus. Yet, I know in my own life, more times than not I don't look anything like Him. I'm a bad caricature of the real thing. And the conclusions people draw of me, aren't anything close to what I am (or who I have) on the inside. A show of hands for those who can relate...

Lord, help us reflect you today; in how we think, work and live. Help us paint for others an accurate picture of you. Amen.

--J.P.

SEDENTARY NATION More Americans spending their time doing anything but exercising

The epidemic continues. Is there an end in sight? A recent story published at CNN Health showed that most Americans spend a vast majority of their non-work and non-sleep time in sedentary activities like eating, drinking, or watching TV or movies. Just over 5% of subjects in the study reported doing any vigorous activity.

For the full report, visit CNN Health.