DVD

Hope Does Not Disappoint

"Hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:5

Read: Romans 5

I've always loved today's verse. Read it again. I've purposefully held out the surrounding verses, because I want to focus on this phrase for a second. See, when the world mentions the word "hope," its tone is usually one of question or doubt. I hope I get an "A". I hope she likes me. I hope nobody notices. I hope....

Well, the Bible says that strength comes to those who hope in the Lord. No question there. No sign of doubts. It's a done deal. Why? God...will...come...through...for...us. How do we know? He died for us. That's why Paul said in Romans 15, "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace." Look up and read the verse again out loud.

Are you in need of a sure thing? When dreams allude us and people fall short, and all we want is a glimmer:

"We know that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." --Romans 5:3-5

It's the ultimate catch-22. If we invite the God of hope into our hearts, He delivers it on impact.

And you know what they say about hope.

--Jimmy Peña

DID YOU KNOW? There are two times of the day when simple (fast-digesting) carbs, such as white bread and sugars, are less likely to impact your waistline: first thing in the morning and after a hard workout. During sleep and exercise, your body burns through stored sugars, leaving you in something of a carb deficit. At most other times of the day, excess carbs or fast-burning carbs are more likely to result in stored body fat.

(Page 59, The PrayFit Diet)

WORKOUT: PRAYFIT 33

We've been talking a lot about nutrition lately and we hope that you are all enjoying the abundance set forth in The PrayFit Diet. But if you're looking for workouts that can truly send your results off the charts, we've got just the thing. Either of PrayFit's two at-home workout DVDs can help you build strength and burn body fat, taking greater advantage of the food prescriptions we lay out in The PrayFit Diet. Try this sample workout, led by Jimmy, then pick up your DVDs to help accelerate your results by clicking here.

Grace Puts Faith To Work

What a week. Anybody care to sigh with me? Do me a favor as you read this sentence and join me in a big, deep breath. Inhale......exhale-uhhhh. How's that? I can almost feel your collective participation. Thanks guys. Friday is always a good day for a recap, but if you're like me, recaps are tough to jot down. Especially when there's been any kind of loss, even in the midst of gain. But the fact that I'm typing and you're reading means we owe it all to grace. Step by graceful step. And I know...I could stop talking about grace as it relates to health, but nothing quite compares. The mirror fades, muscles atrophy, lungs weaken, bones break. But grace...grace does none of those things. Grace is the point of it all. It takes the credit for our highs and is the only way through the lows. It's the purpose, the means and the reason we humbly claw, climb, sweat and strive. Truth is, grace is more than what we say before we eat. It's the meal. And when you're full of grace, you have everything you need to put faith to work. This point of the recap would be a good spot for an "Amen."

So as we end the week, let me hope to be as much of an encouragement to you as you have been to me and mine. I'm praying for every reader, that your health affords you many more days' worth of steps to showcase His grace. And like I wrote to friends and family recently, may each step -- especially if it's our last hurrah -- sound an awful lot like "Hallelujah."

--Jimmy Peña

STRENGTH SESSION: Spend a few minutes strengthening up this morning with this quickie workout, led by Jimmy. Click play below to get started!

BOOKS & BONUSES: As you read here on Monday, we're excited to be rolling out our second book, "The PrayFit Diet," on April 8. But for those that pick up a copy early, spoils await. Order here before the official release date and receive a pair of bonus downloads:

Starter's Guide: Featuring a breakdown of the perfectly balanced 33-day PrayFit Diet, this guide also includes your first week's shopping list and seven days of detailed meal plans.

The PrayFit Prayer: One of the most widely shared posts in PrayFit history is now available as a downloadable, high-res PDF poster. The PrayFit Prayer, seen here, reminds us of our ultimate motivations for health.

Order your copy today and share the link with your social media networks!

Stay Hungry

"And I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way." --Matthew 15:32

Read: Matthew 15

I bet they couldn't get enough. In fact, the sun had set three times and I wonder if they even noticed. Who was this man? The words, the wisdom, the...grace! Indeed, I bet they couldn't get enough, which is probably why they didn't leave to eat.

The bible says that the crowd remained with the Lord for three days. Now granted, you and I have heard some amazing sermons. We've been in the presence of wonderful teachers. But a three-day, non-stop lesson? Even Max Lucado would lose me and Charles Stanley would excuse me. But this wasn't just any teacher referring to Jesus. This was Jesus on the subject of Jesus. This was Love teaching how. The face of grace was offering it. And I think that explains a lot about the crowd. Each morsel of forgiveness was a feast, and they were famished. They were starving for salvation. Oh yes, they were too hungry to eat.

Friends, we all have our agendas. School, work, ministry, health. Our plates are full. But from everything we can take away from the sermon Jesus gave over those three days, let's also learn from the crowd. Let's follow their lead and stay hungry. Before we conquer the gym, the road or even the world, let's pause to devour the words they heard. Remember, there was plenty of time to eat after they were full.

So don't go too soon. Jesus is talking. Let's not leave because we're starving for the things this life can offer. Let's stay because we're too hungry for the things it can't.

--Jimmy Peña

Questions: How important is it to you to eat right today? To feed and build your body? Is it just as important to you to feed your spirit? If you compared the time you spend in the gym with the time you spend in the word, would you have to change your answer? Reading and praying is a discipline issue; one we all need to work on. Won't you start today? Remember, Jesus knew the crowd first needed their spirits fed, but He also had compassion on their physical hunger. What does that teach us about the balance He allows for in our lives?

 

MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

On God's Errand

er-rand: a short journey undertaken in order to deliver or collect something, often on someone else's behalf.

malibu sunsetA couple days away from the dawn of a new year, and I can't believe how fast 2013 came and went. Anybody with me on this? It literally feels like it flew by. Last night, Loretta and I took in a Malibu sunset as a way to try and put a button on the year. I snapped this pic to memorize the moment. A minute or so before it finally disappeared, I removed my cap, grabbed her hand, and we prayed. I tell ya, if one thing a good sunset will do is shine a nice light on a year gone by.

Oh the errands the good Lord sent us on this year. And that's really what they are. Errands. Short journeys to collect or deliver something on someone else's behalf. His.

Maybe it's just me, but don't some errands feel like enormous compliments? That God would deem us able? I can almost feel your collective sigh. The job situation, the mounting bills, your husband's diagnosis, your surgery, your brother's illness, your sister's dilemma. And on the other side of that same sigh is a smile. The graduation, the promotion, the solution. You got that long-awaited e-mail, someone gave just enough, that call of forgiveness or the letter of reconciliation.So many of God's errands leave us wiping our brow, scratching our heads, smiling in joy or everything in between. Thankfully, He's the common denominator, Amen?

Suffice it say that the sunset last night represented two bookends for me. Before it disappeared, it was a light that allowed me to both remember the year and dream about the next. And as it descended and disappeared, it reminded me that God gives us a short time to fulfill our calling. Sweet friends, we're either delivering or collecting something for Him in this quick life, and I'm thankful to be on this 'God errand' with you. So this is me, removing my cap and reaching for your hand.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Health is a God errand. What an enormous blessing, obligation and opportunity. Called to honor Him with our health, battling the elements designed to destroy a body that's built to thrive while we're alive. Who's celebrating 2013 and/or ready for 2014 (or both)? One day more...

SUNRISE RESOURCES

So yes, like Jimmy said, the sun is setting on 2013 and before long, we'll be walking into the sunrise of 2014 fully charged with a fresh take on health. So here we are, once more, extending a hand...humbly praying you'll take that walk with us. Our modest collection of resources gives you everything you need to help your body thrive in the new year. If we've helped to convince you of why it helps to stay healthy, let us now show you how with one of our at-home workout DVDs.

It Was A Gift

I've never shared this story before, but Christmas seems to be the perfect time for it. A few years ago, traveling with a friend and client, I was working, writing the first PrayFit book, doing my thing. Well, one busy day he called me over and asked me to take a walk with him. I wasn't sure what he needed, so as always I simply said, "Yes sir." When we turned the corner, he stopped, put his arm around me, pointed and said, "It's yours. Enjoy."

My TruckSitting on a lawn was this beautiful truck. I couldn't believe it. I can still remember the feeling, the moment, my jaw-dropping reaction, and the look on his face when the jolt of recognition hit mine. The most undeserved and unexpected gift. What's more, it was paid in full and being shipped home for me. By the time my work on the road was done, it was waiting for me at my front door. And now that you know the story, I have one question. How much do you think I want to take care of that truck, inside and out? Truth is, to this day I don't climb up in it without thinking of it as a gift from him.

Isn't that how we should think about our bodies? The vehicles, if you will, that God gave us to get our dear souls from one stretch of this life to the next, as gifts? My genuine care and concern for my truck is simply a reflection of respect for the giver. It won't always be new. Like our bodies, it'll have wear and tear, and the miles will someday show (as they already do.) But even though it loses value each day, that truck is no less valuable to me than the day I got it. Why? Because of the one who gave it to me. It's funny, my wife will attest that while I get compliments for it all the time, I never miss a chance to smile and say, "Thank you. It was a gift." I don't tell them who it was from of course, but it just brings me joy to give him the praise, even in his absence.

Please be encouraged, dear friends. Someone asks you about training and food, show them how. Someone wonders why you don't boast or show-off, remind them where your strength comes from. And if there's ever a doubt as to the importance of honoring God with a body designed to ultimately fail, take it as a compliment, because you know why. It was gift.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Neat huh? I'm sure you could see different themes of the story; from grace and our sin debt being paid in full; the free, undeserved gift of salvation; even the thought of us someday being shipped home. (Yeah, I know. Too easy.) Amazing, but if we get this way when we give each other gifts, imagine how much the Lord enjoys watching us realize it's all from Him. Thanks for letting me share a great memory. I hope it becomes a good one for you too.

"If there's ever a doubt as to the importance of honoring God with a body designed to ultimately fail, take it as a compliment, because you know why. It was gift." –Jimmy Peña

BE A PART OF THE 2014 PRAYFIT TOUR

2014 is booking up! We are so excited that more and more churches are welcoming our unchanging message; one of stewardship, of faith, of humility, of endurance. The team is actively booking April and May events! Reach out to us at info@prayfit.com for more details. As always, for churches and other non-profit events there is never a speaking fee. Talk to your pastors and leaders. Reach out to us and let's see health as a means of praise, together.

Advent

We know the story, but we love it. Two thousand years ago, God made an unexpected trip. Because we were unable to get to Him, He came to us. God left Heaven's hall for Bethlehem's stall. He then climbed out of his crib and onto the cross for your sins and mine. Imagine, God with us. Say that out loud and emphasize a few words with me. God with us. God with us. God with us. Amazing, isn't it? The distance He traveled for you and me. I love Christmas time. The traditions, old and new. But something about Christmas will never change, and that's the story of our Savior.

So Jesus, we know the story, but tell us again. Show us the faith in Joseph's eyes. Reveal the awe on a shepherd's face. Convey the courage of Mary. We know the story, but take us back. Remind us that your birth began a rescue mission. We know the story, but please Jesus, we love it. Be born again.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Now and again over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at Christmas and some of the incredible themes we can apply to our health. What are some of the ways Christmas helps put your health into perspective? I'd love to know. I may even write about it, so please share. Let's have a great week.

I am a pastor's wife and we were looking for a great workout for our church that didn't have swearing (so many do). We also wanted it to be challenging, but not impossible! This video is great! This is exactly what we were looking for, but didn't realize existed. It's fabulous too because you use your own body as resistance! We are using this for our church group's workout! The entire time he is stating uplifting and Biblically accurate information that somehow is related to health and our bodies! A must-buy for any believer who truly wants to invest in their temple. --Amazon Review from a Pastor's Wife

PRAYFIT 33-DAY BODY TONING SYSTEM

If you've found us -- like the pastor's wife above -- then you're likely on board with the idea of health as a means of praise. And you can offer that praise any number of ways, from eating a bit better to taking a walk around the block every morning. But for those looking for something more structured, we've got you covered. The PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System, hosted by founder Jimmy Peña, offers a head-to-toe program that anyone can do from the comfort of home in just 33 minutes.

>> Click here to see all the reviews!

A Healthy Conscience

"But we must hold on to the progress we have already made." --Philippians 3:16

Read: Philippians 3

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view -- deep breath -- it's time to gear up for Christmas. School activities, shopping lists, travel arrangements. Add to that a genuine desire to be healthy and as fit as possible, and the days get pretty packed, right? If it takes an hour in the gym or on the track to get my workout in, sparing even 10 minutes to read and pray is, well, tough to spare. A show of hands of those who can relate. Who has time to get quiet? Doesn't God know how busy I am?

But folks, if there's ever a time to create new habits or fortify old ones, it's now. At PrayFit, we believe it's more important to have a healthy conscience that it is to be health conscious. For the fitness-minded, shame on us if we train and eat "perfectly" this week but never crack open our bibles or hit our knees. Sure, it's great to plan your workout, but more important to work your heart out.

So let's enjoy the season; shop till we drop, pull out the Christmas sweaters and hang the lights. But as you set the week's schedule including your workouts and meal plans, bless the Lord and your life by adding in those precious few minutes of reading, praying and listening. Start with today's chapter. Find out the context of the verse. God knows time is precious, and He misses His with you.

--Jimmy Peña

Did You Know? >> The average person spends 18 hours a month on Facebook (checking the news feed just 7 times a day.) How many verses could you read in 18 hours a month? Will you lay down social media to get closer to the Lord?

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: PrayFit 33

Don't wait until the turn of the calendar to renew your commitment to health and fitness. The PrayFit 33-Day Body-Toning System, the sequel to the team's first workout DVD, is a highly-effective blend of resistance training and cardio that can help you reshape your body for good.

For more information or to order, click here!

Go Back and Ask

"God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. I AM has sent me to you." --Exodus 3:14

I AM your solutionRead: Exodus 3

When Moses needed a name, he got one. "Tell them I AM sent you." Before Moses became one of the greatest leaders the world ever knew, he needed guidance. The leader needed leading. So he went back and asked for it. Not the run-of-the-mill, garden-variety, Twitter-savvy kind of guidance, but he needed what only God could give; Himself.

Imagine if that were our first thought as we begin the week. Is your plate full? Big tests coming up? Maybe the boss has loaded you up with more than you think you can handle, or you just can't quite find the strength to sure up healthier habits. Whatever this new week stacks against us, make sure you remind yourself of Who lives in your heart.

If you notice, Moses didn't gather his wits, self-confidence or assurance. He didn't look in the mirror or take a selfie and repeat to himself, "You're Moses, you're strong, talented, you're handsome and happy. You GOT THIS!" No, Moses knew what was up. And he wasn't up for the task without the Lord. Who are we to think otherwise? Truth is, our week is no match for the One who sends us, and we're nothing for the week if we don't go back and ask.

--Jimmy Peña

Workout of the Week: Build & Burn

This start-of-the-week workout will have you building strength and burning fat in only a few intense minutes per session. Grab some open space and some dumbbells or heavy soup cans if you have them. After a 5-minute warm-up, you'll get to work with this total-body blast, starting with legs. You then move to back, shoulders and arms and finish the circuit on the floor with push-ups and planks to failure. If you have time or the energy, take a couple minutes to rest and repeat the cycle. The jump squats will be brutal but you should expect to achieve around 15-20 reps each round. Rest only as long as necessary before beginning the next exercise.

Welcome to Monday!

Bodyweight Squats for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Deadlifts for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Bent-Over Row for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Overhead Press for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Biceps Curl for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Triceps Kickbacks for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Bodyweight Push-Up to failure Jump Squats to failure Plank to failure Repeat the cycle

>> Click here for exercise videos and descriptions!

>> If you're looking for a more comprehensive, daily program to help you reach your fitness goals, try one of our at-home workout DVDs by clicking here.

Pure Strength

Yesterday we touched on the idea of "A Strong Life" and I thought we'd continue the discussion. What exactly does a strong life look like? In the shortest, simplest form, the strongest life you'll ever meet -- both spiritually and physically -- is one that has committed their life to Christ and is committed to honoring Him with their health. Now, the first and most important part of that sentence is a life that has Jesus in their hearts. Someone who is saved, Heaven-bound and Spirit-led. Then once eternity is taken care of, time on earth has guidance, which leads us to the second part of the sentence. Honoring Him with our bodies takes on many, many forms.

What is it not about? Well, let me say this. I know preachers that have never stepped foot in a gym and who may not have been the healthiest, but who did more for the Kingdom of God physically than the fittest "Christian athlete." So we know it's not about aesthetics, or perception or ability or the reflection. Honoring Him with our bodies goes to the core of who we are in Him, through Him and because of Him.

You know, if someone were to ask us to summarize today's workout as well as what we read in God's word today, which one would be easier to recount? Many of us know when it's "Leg Day" but have no plan for what scripture we've set aside to read. Truth is, we honor Him with our bodies first by the amount of time we spend with Him. In fact, tending to our spiritual needs requires physical discipline; stopping, getting on our knees, reading our Bibles, praying. Physical discipline for spiritual strength.

Once we've trained in godliness, then we can do physically whatever glorifies Him, and protects and rejuvenates our bodies, what's enjoyable, habit-forming, etc. For some, it's walking, swimming, running, lifting or a combination. And once we've cared for the soul and the body, we put the two to use in tandem by serving God and those He's brought into our lives: family, neighbors, church, friends, the less fortunate. A strong life is one of service, of character, commitment, discipline, priority, practice. Fact is, a strong life can take on too many forms for a lowly fitness devotional to handle. But our little lives can be strong because we serve a mighty God who wants to do His will through us.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What is YOUR definition of a strong life?

Many of us know when it's "Leg Day" but have no plan for what scripture we've set aside to read. Truth is, we honor Him with our bodies first by the amount of time we spend with Him. --Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BeFit Workout with Jimmy

Use this four-minute jaunt through the PrayFit gauntlet energize your efforts and start living a strong life today

>> To order the full video for you to do at home, click the links on the video directly or visit the online store today!

Wear The Song Out

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and the light unto my path." --Psalm 119:105

Read: Psalm 119

I'm gonna wear this song out. Seems I can't get over a new ditty by Steven Curtis Chapman. Play, repeat, play, repeat. Thing is, I want to wear this song out; out on my walk, out to my therapy, out to the store. Well, you'll be glad that I have a new song for our stroll together today. Let's walk and talk.

My eyes had not yet adjusted. After turning out the lights last night, I stood in pitch blackness. You know the feeling. Though your eyes are wide open, you can't see the end of your nose. So I did what you do. I didn't budge. I reasoned that in my condition the last thing I need to do is trip and fall. But Loretta's eyes had already adjusted to the dark. "You're fine, take another step." And there it is. What had to happen for me to move? I needed to have faith that Loretta could see in the dark.

We encourage babies to do it. Patients that surround me at rehab need to hear it. From someone discouraged because they haven't lost a pound, to someone trying to overcome the loss of a loved one, it's the most basic, difficult and necessary action any of us have to do to get through.

Are you in the dark today, unable to budge? Fearful about something? Timid or unsure? The light of your circumstances has gone out and you're standing there blind with your eyes wide open. Friend, He knows how you feel. But He sees in the dark. After all, He is the light. Just close your eyes, hold on to Him and take another step. And another step. And another step. And another step. Before you know it, you're wearing the song out.

--Jimmy Peña

 

For Discussion: As you step out the door, is putting one foot in front of the other as tough literally as it is theoretically? I hope we can be an encouragement to you to keep going. Praying for you, hoping for you, helping shine His light so you can find your way. If you'd like us to help you pray about something, let us know. We're right here.

(Again I encourage you to go to iTunes and download the new CD by Steven Curtis Chapman called, "A Glorious Unfolding." When you get to "Take Another Step" turn it up for me.)

GET FIT WITH JIMMY PEÑA

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

The Light of the Lamp

You like themes? We like themes. Every once in a while we'll begin on Monday by talking about a principle -- such as grace or faith -- and we'll embrace it all week, infusing it into each day's message of health. Welcome to such a week. But rather than circle our wagons around a singular truth or Godly characteristic, a verse will be our central theme. And while there are no ordinary verses, this was no ordinary verse. I'm even guessing some of you know it by heart.

But whatever you do, don't miss a day. We're going back. We're going back to sit with Paul in prison cells and dark corners. We'll watch as he painfully and poetically places each word of this sentence in its place. Of the many treasures he crafted, this was worth its weight in gold. If he were writing sheet music, this was a high C. If this were his closing argument, consider this his exclamation point; a point he made to help meet the needs of the people in Corinth, and a point that meets ours.

So as we begin a week full of every kind of obligation -- obligations we've scribbled on our to-do lists -- let's meet each day right here. Let's share the light of the lamp as he dips his pen. In order to do that, we have to get close. Let's gather around him. No time to be shy, squeeze in. There's room, so don't hesitate. He's about to write his first words.

"I discipline...

--Jimmy Peña

PrayFit - 33 Day Body ToningWORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Home-Based Fitness

"The best exercise you can do is the kind you will continue doing," Jimmy always says. That's why we created the PrayFit DVD series. Our first disc, produced and distributed globally by entertainment stalwart Lionsgate, is one of the best growing line of PrayFit resources which already includes an Amazon bestselling book.

The DVD, hosted by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS, features a 33-day, 33-minute program that allows viewers to build strength, stamina and flexibility using only their bodyweight and includes four “PrayFit Minutes,” which provide inspiration for each week of work. DVD viewers can also visit prayfit.com for diet advice, encouragement and to connect with others in the PrayFit community. This type of program carries wide appeal, Peña says, because of how user-friendly and effective it is but that “33” holds a deeper meaning.

“We chose 33 days because, scientifically, a month-long program is proven to help establish good habits while also seeing noticeable changes in body composition,” he says. “But we also chose 33 days to honor the life of Jesus. He could have given us a day or even a week. But because He lived 33 years, we know He can relate to our day-to-day issues.”

>> For more information or to order yours today, click here!

You Know The Story, Part I

"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death!'" --Luke 15:17

Read: Luke 15

You know the story. A silhouette appears on the horizon. Too far away to distinguish, but a father who's been waiting for his son to come home can't help but wonder. Squinting, he raises his hand over his eyes to block the sun's glare. As the distant figure gets closer, the father begins to walk in that direction; slowly at first, trying to match the pace of his visitor. Until he realizes this is...this is no visitor. It's him. It's his boy. His long, lost son was home. And with compassion and forgiveness, he ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, clothed him and fed him.

You know the story. The prodigal son is nothing new to you. The son takes his inheritance and high-tails it his way to the highway. You know the story. And in one way or another maybe you've lived it. Perhaps you're living it now. Maybe not with an inheritance, but perhaps with your inherited health. Long hours, long days, obligations, deadlines, family matters, friends that matter, must-see TV and your must-read social media find you on foreign soil; a place you were never designed to be. Maybe it's time to go home.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Can anyone relate to today's message? Perhaps you're battling an illness, a habit, a struggle you can't seem to overcome. Let us know. We want to pray with you. As always, simply say "unspoken" if you prefer. See you tomorrow for Part II.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Lamb and Apricot Stew

It’s not “what’s for dinner” and it’s not even “the other white meat,” but lamb is a very savory meat that you should consider adding to your weekly menu. Try this dish from PrayFit contributor Kimberly Fuller, NASM-CPT, CES.

>> Click here for the recipe!

GET FIT WITH JIMMY PEÑA

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

It's Not In Our DNA

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” --Luke 17:15-16

Read: Luke 17

DNAOur DNA is remarkable. Our microscopic fingerprint. A double-helix with 25,000 regions of genes that tell the body how to build itself. And we’re getting better at reading it. Want to know if your child has the genetics of an all-pro athlete? There’s a gene for that. Or maybe even more impressive, there’s a gene that determines motivation to become an all-pro athlete. One’s genetic make-up can tell us so much about our future. The smarter we get, the better we’ll be at predicting all sorts of things from the likelihood of certain illnesses to athletic potential.

Aren’t we glad that Heaven isn’t determined by our DNA? When ability falls short and capability fails miserably, Jesus touches our hearts and leaves a permanent imprint of a nail-scarred hand; the only statistically significant indicator of one’s destiny.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: As believers, we have to employ healthy habits in our lives. The goal of abundant life needs to become part of our DNA. If it wasn't something that we have to consciously do, God wouldn't have reminded us. Some things don't come naturally, whether it be motivation, athletic ability, coordination. But none of that matters. God sees the heart, so don't spend time critiquing the mirror or applauding it. Get moving in order to reflect Him. Serve others, be an example to kids, help neighbors, get active in church. When we say health is a means of praise, we don't mean for ourselves.

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

The Island of Grace

"He refreshes my soul..." --Psalm 23:3

Read: Psalm 23

HammockWe hope you've enjoyed pausing on the island of grace this week. We can't think of a better place to still our hearts and minds. Be it in the fitness industry or in the aisle at your local supermarket, the water can get choppy, leaving you bobbing in the wake of someone's opinion, society's judgments or self-destructive habits of comparison and self-obsession. The under currents are strong, and it's not long before you're waving your arms, "Look at me, I measure up! I fit in! Can anyone see me?!"

But the anchor of grace reminds us that health is given for one singular purpose: to bring glory to a mighty God. And as we've discussed over the years, that means so many things, and it doesn't mean so many things. But if you're tired, don't worry. Treading water is toughest in really shallow water which is, coincidentally, where the world demands most of your time. But thankfully, God provides a shore. So go ahead and come out. Wrap yourself in a towel of compassion. Have a seat on the beach, run your toes through the sand, take a deep breath, and bask in a warmness only a Godly view of the body can provide.

Next week we'll hit the water again hard, because our health demands our best. But for now -- yawwwwn -- I think I found a great spot for a nap.

--Jimmy Peña

6210-CardinalGIFTS FOR DAD

If you're looking for thoughtful gifts for the health-minded dads in your life, make sure you stop at our newly-revamped online store. Here, you'll find long- and short-sleeve tees, hats and get-fit resources from PrayFit like books and DVDs...everything dads need to spread the concept of health as a means of praise. Want to place a group order? Contact us direct at sales@prayfit.com for special discounts!

>> Click here to start "window" shopping!

A Holy Climb

"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea', and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." --Mark 11:23

Read: Mark 11

Hey everyone. After a week off, PrayFit is back online. Honestly, I probably need to write more than you need to read, but nonetheless, here we are in Jesus' name. If you happen to be new to PrayFit, we have a couple of common mountains we climb -- two objectives as we make our way up some pretty steep hills. For some, PrayFit is a place of encouragement to begin or continue an exercise program or sensible eating plan. Others don't need such nudging on the health side but have come to enjoy the fact that we're nestled in God's word and steeped in grace.

It's a holy climb, really. That's what we chat about each day as we scale. As one hand digs for its stronghold, we remind each other of our need of greater health in order to live abundant lives, serving and doing. And as we secure our grip with the other, we echo the truth that no amount of health or fitness, muscle or endurance is worth anything if God isn't behind each motive.

So, maybe you're like me. Maybe it's easy to imagine yourself clinging to the side of this cliff. For whatever reason, either by neglect or something that blindsided you, you're stalled physically. Or perhaps your fitness is just fine, but you're so focused on reaching the summit of health or even body image that you're missing the purpose of it all. Well, wherever you are on this hillside, I hope and pray you spend some time with us each day. It's my experience that the more we focus on Christ, the stronger we are to get over hurdles or to get over ourselves.

Make it a holy climb -- one you make only by reaching for His hand.

--Jimmy Peña

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room. Below is a sample of what you can expect with our newest video offering, the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System.

Your Mission

"I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." --3 John 1:2

Read: 3 John 1

I remember like it was yesterday, scrounging through an old box of books while whispering to myself, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it...." I'm smiling as I type this sentence. Great memories. See, in 1996, the movie of the year was the first Mission: Impossible, and I was bound and determined to see it. But as a young married couple, times were tight. With both of us working and in school, we watched every penny. I knew that in order for us to see the show, it was up to me. (Light the fuse, cue the music.)

Long story short, the sign at the end of the street read, "WE BUY BOOKS!" And fortunately, I kept every schoolbook I'd ever read (from every class). So if they were buying, I was selling. When Loretta got home, I greeted her with a kiss, a grin and two tickets. Special times.

That story came to mind recently when someone requested PrayFit resources for their church. Seems I'm still selling books. Only now it's for what many see as an impossible mission: to conquer the obesity epidemic in our homes and churches. But I think John said it best. In his third epistle, the first thing he said to a man named Gaius was, "I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." (v. 2) A worthy hope he had for his friend, especially considering the times in which they lived. And it's still a worthy hope today; a hope that defines our purpose at PrayFit. Is your church in need of help? Does someone you love need encouragement to be healthy for the right reasons? If so, we're on a mission, and we're bringing books.

--Jimmy Peña

THE RIGHT GADGETS FOR YOUR MISSION

The protagonist in the Mission: Impossible films, Ethan Hunt, was successful due to his vast experience in the world of espionage...and a few choice inventions. From voice-replicating throat chips to explosive gum, the tools of the trade were always vital to the mission. Same applies for you and yours. Try these resources when it comes to confronting health issues in your home and community:

>> READ: Our first book, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 33 Days," provides two 28-day exercise programs, a complete diet plan and biblically-inspired devotions to keep you motivated each step of the way.

>> WATCH: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room.

For more information on these and other products, click here.

Joe Weider: A Tribute

Weider HQI love telling this story. Whenever I'm speaking to groups around the country, I seldom miss an opportunity to share it. Years ago as I sat in my office at Muscle & Fitness magazine, I was editing an article that needed to get out the door ASAP, when I heard a noise from across the indoor atrium. It was Joe Weider -- the founder of bodybuilding and fitness -- leaving his office for the night.

At the time, Joe was in need of a walker as well as a nurse to get around. As he walked out of his office, I watched him as he made his way down the hall and directly in front of a bronze statue of himself from his younger prime -- arms folded, chest puffed, chin high. Captured in time, a bronzed Joe Weider, now merely a backdrop of a struggling reality.

In one rare moment, I was an eyewitness to two bookends of the same man. The sight caused me to sit back in my chair. Right then the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, "It's not about the body." I thought to myself, What's a Christian fitness expert to do with such a realization? I wanted to make an impact on people's lives, and I was hungry to create a lasting legacy that would honor the Lord in my area of expertise. It's a moment I will never forget.

Joe passed away on Saturday morning. And from The New York Times, to the Associated Press, to The Nightly News, his passing sent waves of emotion through the country and around the world. Tributes abound online while magazines are scurrying to gather vintage photos of the legend with classic stories and captions. But for my small part, I will always be in his debt for giving me my very first writing job out of graduate school and then for the honor of being the worldwide fitness editor to his magazine. But while he did so much for the temporary body of a country, I will forever remember him struggle down that hall, fighting for every step. God used his loss of movement to help inspire one. I called it PrayFit. Thanks Joe.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

You Changed My Life

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." --John 15:9

Read: John 15

"You changed my life," I told Mya, with a kiss, as I put her back to bed. "You changed mine," she whispered in reply before slipping back into a deep sleep. I closed her door walked back to my room with a wry smile, my eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. For this fatigued father, sleepy words had begotten a swelled heart.

Half asleep and scarcely able to comprehend the magnitude of such a statement, Mya will probably never remember that she uttered it. But it brought me untold joy nonetheless. You see, every expression of love that she musters -- every squeeze, every crinkle-nosed grin, every barely-perceptible midnight utterance of affection -- impacts me deeply and profoundly. Not a single, loving gesture is too slight.

When I finally laid my head to my pillow, like Mya, I did some whispering of my own: "Lord, You changed my life." The words, I thought, fell short. Despite His divinity, I speculated, He can't possibly understand how much I love Him and how fortunate I feel to be numbered among His flock. Then, it occurred to me. He didn't just change my life, He gave it. And for a Father, even when the words miss the mark, they never miss the heart.

--Eric Velazquez

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

Discipline Determines Destiny

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should." --1 Corinthians 9:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

>> AUDIO: To hear this entry read by Jimmy Peña, click here. [audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Discipline+Determines+Destiny.mp3]

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Charles Stanley with In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. He delivered a message entitled, "Discipline Determines Destiny." Of course, he made it clear that he wasn't talking about eternal destiny, but that he wanted to discuss our earthly effectiveness; how we handle our money, our time, our relationships and ohhhh yes, while I was at the edge of my seat, he said it..."how we handle our health."

None of the other topics received much of a reaction (perhaps because they were expected), but when he asked the question, "Who wants to live a long, healthy life?", there was a noticeable murmur. When it became quiet, Dr. Stanley simply asked his congregation how they expected to live abundantly when they're facing avoidable and preventable road blocks of health. Hearing it from me is one thing, but when Dr. Charles Stanley says it, it's another thing altogether.

As he preached, I scribbled. He used words and phrases like,

The value we place on our health will be evident in our diligence... Fulfilling, achieving, orderly, less stressful... Aimless and lethargic versus Godly and confident... Feeling good about yourself...  Nothing to do with age... He still has the best in mind for you... Positive impact on others...health can be a way to witness... Build better health and a better faith...

Folks, go ahead and quiet the murmur in your mind and settle your thoughts on this one: Your health is important to God. Any personal justification you've otherwise convinced yourself with, is false. The call to action this week is a call of discipline. And it doesn't matter what you decide to do.  Just decide and work within your means. Walk the block or the dog. Do some push-ups or lift some weights. Walk away from the dessert menu and step up to the plate of clean eating. Discipline determines destiny, and if you're reading this, yours is still unwritten.

--Jimmy Peña

STUDY: A SWEET RISK One of the most common obstacles that people cite in their quest for healthier living is an inability to shake their soda habit. While it's pretty widely known that having these sugar-laden drinks on a regular basis can lead to excess calorie consumption, huge swings in energy and cavities, new research is suggesting that such beverages can also be a danger to your heart health.

>> For the full story, click here.

33 DAYS WITH PRAYFIT

Have you tried the new PrayFit at-home workout DVD? The PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System is a highly-challenging workout that can be done in your living room with some dumbbells and a workout mat and is guaranteed to provide a powerful stimulus for change. Whether you're looking to lose a few inches around the waist or simply shape-up specific bodyparts, this is the DVD for you. Click here to read more or to purchase one for yourself or a friend!

Strong and Courageous

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Read: 2 Timothy 1

Imagine a coach before a big game. The team has taken a knee and their helmets are off as they await the last few words of encouragement. The coach stands before them and says, "Now listen up, boys. We got here as a team and we'll finish as one. I believe in you. But...I gotta admit, I think the other coach is smarter than me, and the other kids, well, they're a lot bigger than you. But hey, it was a fun season. Try not to get hurt. Now, let's go!"

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of health issues, financial hardships, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt. On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross. His pre-game words would be the same today as they were yesterday: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Josh 1:9) and "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Question: The Bible is full of wonderful verses that remind us of God's strength, love and guidance. What is your favorite?

33 DAYS WITH PRAYFIT

Have you tried the new PrayFit at-home workout DVD? The PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System is a highly-challenging workout that can be done in your living room with some dumbbells and a workout mat and is guaranteed to provide a powerful stimulus for change. Whether you're looking to lose a few inches around the waist or simply shape-up specific bodyparts, this is the DVD for you. Click here to read more or to purchase one for yourself or a friend! (NOTE: As a reminder, once we reach 25 reviews on Amazon, we're offering one random reviewer a gift from the new PrayFit online store!)