Lazarus

"Let The Healing Never End"

"Jesus wept." --John 11:35

Read: John 11

If you haven't read today's chapter, Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. And when Mary finally reached Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days. Perhaps they thought Jesus didn't hurry or didn't notice. Either way, the grief and pain that Mary and the others were feeling moved Jesus to tears. Although Lazarus would soon be having a good laugh, Jesus cried. Why? Because their loss was His too, and their pain hurt. Imagine that for a second. Their agony hit His heart and...gush.

Yesterday I received encouraging news with one of my surgeons (last year's). But it wasn't an easy appointment. So important was this check-up that I had my wife, mother, dad and small corner of friends hitting their knees for me. I even bet my mom went old school -- like biblical -- and prayed in a closet. And it was the doctor who delivered the good news to a teary Loretta. But he wasn't crying with her. He didn't console her, hold her and he definitely didn't cry. Why? He knew the outcome. He saw her tears and quickly knew how to dry them.

You know, if Jesus could instantly dry the eyes of a broken Mary, surely He could prevent His own from welling up. But aren't we glad He knows how we feel? And shows it? Which makes me think, that probably wasn't the last time Mary cried, or cried out to a healing God. And yesterday wasn't the last day we'll follow her example. I'm learning that it's true that on this side of Heaven, the healing never ends. Like you, I often want Him to hurry or notice. If I didn't know better, I'd say this life looks a lot like that short road to Bethany.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Incidentally, tomorrow is my 14-day check-up with the neurosurgeon. Let the dust fly, and like my boys of the group Salvador sing, "Let the healing never end". Amen?

REPORT: ROOT OF THE PAIN Are you walking around each day with chronic pain in your knees or back? It might not be the thrashing you put on your body in your formidable years. It may be the few extra pounds you've accumulated since. The good news is that there's an easy fix.

>> Get the full report here.

LISTEN: Want to take in some of your favorite entries direct from Jimmy? Click here for a selection of audio devotions and be sure to share the link with your social networks!

Meeting His Eyes

"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." --Luke 22:61

Read: Luke 22

Have you ever stopped to think about all the great and odd ways that God gets the attention of His people? Lazarus woke up and Jonah saw the inside of a whale. Just run through the bible and we find countless examples of jaw-dropping, head-swiveling surrender to God's presence and authority.

And though you and I don't cheat tombs or choke whales, we can all identify with Peter at the fire pit. Heard any roosters lately? How many opportunities to witness for Jesus have we allowed to go up in smoke? Perhaps around the fire pit of jobs, school or the gym? Like Peter, we all know how it feels to disappoint Christ, and though we'd like to turn back time, Christ turns back our attention. (Notice today's verse.) Just like Peter, it's when our eyes meet those of Jesus that we're broken -- in heart and in spirit -- and His work through us truly begins.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small cubes) 1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 6 cups chicken stock 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ¾ cup chopped red onion 1 ½ cups Arborio rice ½ cup white wine 1 teaspoon saffron 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 4 cups baby spinach ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Place squash on a large sheet pan and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and edges begin to brown. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat with oil and butter. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add a ladle of stock, salt, pepper and saffron; stir and simmer until stock is absorbed. Continue to add stock (a ladle at a time) stirring every few minutes. Continue until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender (about 30 minutes). Stir in the basil and spinach, followed by the cheese and butternut squash. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories: 360 Total Fat:  15.5 grams Saturated Fat:  7 grams Carbohydrate:  44 grams Protein:  13 gram Cholesterol:  24 milligrams Sodium:  815 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams

This week's recipe is courtesy of Dana Angelo White, contributing dietitian to PrayFit and adviser to The Food Network. Find more of Dana's delicious recipes at www.danawhitenutrition.com

It Took a Funeral

"The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." --John 11:25

Read: John 11

If anyone had the right to claim credit for the phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of my life" it was Lazarus. Four days gone. Entombed. Lazarus was dead. Then he wasn't. If any day felt like the first to him, this was the one. But it took a funeral to make him feel alive.

You and I are no different. Well, we don't cheat graves, but we are called to die each day...to ourselves. But we can't talk about death without including every aspect of life. Our minds: how we think. Our motives: selfish and proud. And our bodies: how we nourish His temple on earth. If we strive to be obedient in everything including, say, our approach to food, we live better. Conquering our daily life of health requires a daily death of self.

It's tough to live in a grave. Just ask Lazarus. His best day was his first day, and so is yours. And it begins at a funeral.

--Jimmy Peña

THE IMPORTANCE OF "PRAY" IN PRAYFIT Research reinforcing the connection between physical and spiritual health The name "PrayFit" isn't an accident. We believe that a deeper connection with the Lord -- which is achieved through daily reading, prayer and fellowship -- is central to your ongoing quest for a healthier body. A recent story lends credence -- actual lab-coat-and-bar-graphs kinda credence -- to this fundamental truth.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that individuals who prayed daily were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn't pray regularly. And a 2011 study of inner city youth with asthma found that those with regular prayer lives exhibited fewer and less severe symptoms.

But the floodgate of research showing the correlation of spiritual and physical health doesn't stop there. Read the full story from the Huffington Post by clicking the link below.

>> HUFF POST: Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don't

PRAY: Click here to pray with and for other members of the PrayFit community!

HOT TOPIC: Does God call us to be fit? What's your take?

Peter and the Fire Pit

"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." --Luke 22:61

Read: Luke 22

Have you ever stopped to think about all the great and odd ways that God gets the attention of His people? Lazarus woke up and Jonah saw the inside of a whale. Just run through the bible and we find countless examples of jaw-dropping, head-swiveling surrender to God's presence and authority.

And though you and I don't cheat tombs or choke whales, we can all identify with Peter at the fire pit. Heard any roosters lately? How many opportunities to witness for Jesus have we allowed to go up in smoke? Perhaps around the fire pit of jobs, school or the gym? Like Peter, we all know how it feels to disappoint Christ, and though we'd like to turn back time, Christ turns back our attention. (Notice today's verse.) Just like Peter, it's when our eyes meet those of Jesus that we're broken -- in heart and in spirit -- and His work through us truly begins.

Take Away Question for Easter Week: What does it say to you that amidst the chaos, the trial, and the death sentence, Jesus' attention was on Peter and his darkest hour?

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small cubes) 1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 6 cups chicken stock 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ¾ cup chopped red onion 1 ½ cups Arborio rice ½ cup white wine 1 teaspoon saffron 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 4 cups baby spinach ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Place squash on a large sheet pan and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and edges begin to brown. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat with oil and butter. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add a ladle of stock, salt, pepper and saffron; stir and simmer until stock is absorbed. Continue to add stock (a ladle at a time) stirring every few minutes. Continue until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender (about 30 minutes). Stir in the basil and spinach, followed by the cheese and butternut squash. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories: 360 Total Fat:  15.5 grams Saturated Fat:  7 grams Carbohydrate:  44 grams Protein:  13 gram Cholesterol:  24 milligrams Sodium:  815 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams

This week's recipe is courtesy of Dana Angelo White, contributing dietitian to PrayFit and adviser to The Food Network. Find more of Dana's delicious recipes at www.danawhitenutrition.com

It Took a Funeral

"The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." --John 11:25

Read: John 11

If anyone had the right to claim credit for the phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of my life" it was Lazarus. Four days gone. Entombed. Lazarus was dead. Then he wasn't. If any day felt like the first to him, this was the one. But it took a funeral to make him feel alive.

You and I are no different. Well, we don't cheat graves, but we are called to die each day, to ourselves. But we can't talk about death without including every aspect of life. Our minds: how we think. Our motives: selfish and proud. And our bodies: how we nourish His temple on earth. If we strive to be obedient in everything including, say, our approach to food, we live better. Conquering our daily life of health requires a daily death of self.

It's tough to live in a grave. Ask Lazarus. His best day was his first day, and so is yours. And it begins at a funeral.

--Jimmy Peña

THE IMPORTANCE OF "PRAY" IN PRAYFIT Research reinforcing the connection between physical and spiritual health The name "PrayFit" isn't an accident. We believe that a deeper connection with the Lord -- which is achieved through daily reading, prayer and fellowship -- is central to your ongoing quest for a healthier body. A recent story lends credence -- actual lab-coat-and-bar-graphs kinda credence -- to this fundamental truth.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that individuals who prayed daily were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn't pray regularly. And a 2011 study of inner city youth with asthma found that those with regular prayer lives exhibited fewer and less severe symptoms.

But the floodgate of research showing the correlation of spiritual and physical health doesn't stop there. Read the full story from the Huffington Post by clicking the link below.

>> HUFF POST: Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don't

GOING...UNNOTICED

February 23, 2011Read: John 11

"Jesus wept." --John 11:35

When Mary finally reached Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days. Perhaps they thought Jesus didn't hurry or didn't notice. Either way, the grief and pain that Mary and the others were feeling moved Jesus to tears. Although Lazarus would soon be having a good laugh, Jesus cried. Why? Their loss was His too, and their pain hurt.

Today I read a story about a woman here in Los Angeles that died at work but wasn't noticed for over a day. Sitting at her desk, in a row of empty cubicles on a practically vacant office floor, she died. Unknown and alone.

Of all the things this story brings to mind, most prominent is an inconsolable Mary comforted by a tear-soaked Jesus. We don't always notice the hurting around us, but He does. He sees, knows and cares. By the way, the lady's name? Rebecca. Means secured. She may have died alone, but her family (and you and I) can rest secure in that what breaks our heart, tears Him apart.

Application: Today, notice the lonely. Someone around you might be dying on the inside. Look them in the eye, smile and offer something perhaps nobody has in a while -- your time.

--J.P.

NUTRITION BYTE

Cold and flu supplements have become a multi-billion dollar business. As the cold weather rolls in each year, consumers fork over a pretty penny for anything that promises to keep them healthy or get them better. Are these supplements all they’re cracked up to be? PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC weighs in.

Q: Is there any benefit from those pills, powders and fizzy drinks that promise to cure or protect you from cold and flu germs?

A: Unfortunately there are no proven cures for these illnesses. Some of the most common supplements are harmless; others you need to watch out for. There are numerous vitamin, mineral and herb concoctions out there. Here are a few of the most common ingredients and what you’ll want to know before picking up a cold and flu supplement.

Echinacea
There’s no solid scientific evidence to prove that this herb can prevent or shorten the duration of a cold. Since the quality of herbal supplements is sometimes questionable due to loose regulations, you’re better off saving your money.

Vitamin C
While no one can discount the benefit of meeting your daily needs for vitamin C , only a small amount of research links the vitamin with shortening the duration of colds. While the anti-inflammatory properties may help to relieve some symptoms, proceed with caution — mega-doses can also cause unpleasant side effects like stomach upset and diarrhea.

Zinc
Zinc does play a role in immune function, but that doesn’t mean that more is better. Excessive amounts can be toxic, causing loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and headaches. It’s pretty tough to eat your way to a zinc toxicity, so stick to zinc from foods like shellfish, pork, beans, nuts and whole grains.

Vitamins A and E
You body relies on vitamins A and E from foods to help keep the immune system running strong. These two vitamins also happen to have cell-protecting antioxidant properties. Again, more is not the answer — large doses from supplements can be toxic.

Bottom Line: Beat germs during the winter months by eating a diet loaded with nutrients and antioxidants from brightly colored fruits and vegetables. If you do come down with an ailment, seek relief from real foods like chicken soup, tea with honey and lemon and orange juice.