Genesis

Out Of The Pits

"You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." --Genesis 50:20

Read: Genesis 50

Left out, left behind, left for dead. Young Joey could do no wrong in his father's eyes, so his big brothers squinted theirs. In a jealous plot, Joey's brothers took him for a long walk off a short pier. The next thing this favorite son knew, he was lying in a pit, listening to the sound of clanging silver in exchange for his life. And before long, he was in a foreign land full of foreign faces that spoke a foreign language.

Your boss gives the promotion to the one who sleeps in his cubicle. Someone else gets the credit for the work you did on the school group project. We may not be shipped off to another country, but we sure do know our way around the pits. But a neat thing about young Joey is that although the breaks got rough, they didn't break him. He made good. Learned the language, made friends, stayed focused. It wasn't long until the king alone out-ranked him.

In our week of looking at great life-closers, Joseph's story is unavoidable. From pit to prime minister. Of everything I draw from it, two things jump off the page. First, despite his circumstances, Joseph honed his unique, God-given gift. Everything around him might have been foreign, but the same God he knew at home was the same God in Egypt. So Joseph resolved to cling to his dreams, literally. (If you're a dreamer, keep it up.) And second, he chose to forgive. One snap of his fingers and his begging brothers would be begging for their lives. Nobody would have blamed him, but Joseph knew that what some people mean for bad, God can make great.

See, Joseph was a closer. Written off in chapter one, his rough start made for one great conclusion.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What do you love about the story of Joseph? What can his faithfulness and forgiveness teach us about our lives, our health, our perspective? Do you feel like you need a tighter grip on your dreams? Have you ever felt like you're in Egypt? Are you there now?

FAITH & FITNESS AT YOUR CHURCH: You have a house full of believers -- devout in its faith, dutiful in its service. But how is the physical health of your church? Is stewardship of health a topic of discussion? If not, it may be time to add a new message to the mission of the congregation -- one that places a higher value on abundant living, one that charges members to care for the body that carries the soul. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña is hitting the road in the coming weeks and months to help spread this message of faith and fitness, of health and a heart for service. Click play below for more on this message and write us today at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next church or community event.

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I removed my warm-ups from my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. Well, the clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-ups on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.