In Touch Ministries

Welcome Back

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." --Galatians 2:20

Read: Galatians 2

Well?? (typed with a big smile and spoken loudly)

On behalf of everyone at PrayFit, welcome back. If you've recently subscribed, thank you for being part of our community. We hope you remain constantly encouraged and challenged to live your best life, in part, by what you read from us each day. Speaking of your "best life," yesterday Dr. Charles Stanley was encouraging his congregation to live theirs. I took notes.

He told them that if they wanted to be everything God intended, taking care of themselves was an absolute. He thundered away as he reminded them that the bodies they neglect wasn't theirs, but it was God's temple on earth. He said an unhealthy body weakens 1) your energy for the task, 2) your ability to focus, 3) your alertness, 4) your enthusiasm and 5) your readiness to take on new challenges for the Lord. And he ended the section by saying, "We have a right, a privilege and responsibility to keep our bodies healthy."

Notice his theme? Health as a means of praise and of service. For those who are new, that's a common thread of ours; one that's woven into each and every thing we say and do. It's not that we don't have anything else to energize the effort but we just can't seem to exhaust its strength and power. This Thursday marks five years of daily devotions at PrayFit.com -- five years of celebrating God, touching hearts, moving bodies, soothing hurts and experiencing grace.

And so let a new year begin. May it be a year of genuine faith. May we be on our knees in prayer daily before and above all other priorities. May we remind ourselves of the grace we've been given so that we freely give it to others just the same. And when our eyes are clear and our hearts made right -- during the easy times and even when the world has us on the run or the ropes -- may we dig down deep within the temple He gave us to gladly, boldly, humbly, modestly and courageously honor Him with it, in Jesus' name.

Welcome back to PrayFit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What is your personal theme this year? Do you have one? If you do or want to think of one, please share it with us. We'd like to pray for each and everyone one of them and let the worldwide PrayFit community do the same.

>> GET STARTED: If you're looking for a launching off point for your get-fit endeavors in 2013, try one of our two at-home, 33-day fitness programs or our book, which includes two 28-day bodyweight-only programs and a full meal plan. You can grab these resources in our online store.

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> 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.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña

SODIUM: NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE

Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.