Lionsgate

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.

Thanks For The Memory

I'm becoming somewhat of a king of forgetfulness. It's true. And it's not just about where I put my truck keys, but where I actually put my truck. Oh, it gets worse. Things that happened last week might as well have happened last year. Like, blank. Truthfully, I find myself whispering to myself, "I can't remember."

Speaking of memory, did anyone catch the 60 Minutes episode on Sunday about the memory wizards? If you missed it, it was a story about a very exclusive group of people that never forget anything. And when I say anything, I mean it. Pick a date out of a hat from years past and they can tell you what happened, what they were wearing, and what day of the week it was. And what's more, they actually feel the emotion of every day that they've ever lived. Like a sweater against your skin, they do more than remember, they still feel it.

One little boy's story made me pause. On what should've been a normal, happy day, the little boy relives being scolded by his dad. After 365 days, he still feels like he's in trouble. And it breaks his father's heart that his son can't let go of that memory. To the camera the son simply says, "I can't forget."

Buried in the deepest sea; Remembered no more; As far as the East is from the West. These are just a few of the ways the Bible describes how well God remembers our sin. Imagine that. Where as I work to remember my yesterday, He chooses to forget it. Oh my King of Forgetfulness. And yours too. How is it we forget to look to the Cross each day and exclaim, "Thank you for the memory."

--Jimmy Peña

 

ON THE AGENDA: STRENGTH

If getting stronger this year is on your agenda, then this workout should be on today's to-do list. In this segment from the PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge, Jimmy walks you through a challenging, at-home routine that can help you build tons of strength -- your base for whatever else you want to do in 2014.

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.

Behind The Scenes

"When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it — quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out." --Matthew 6:2-4

Read: Matthew 6

Yesterday, Eric sent me some behind-the-scenes footage from our DVD series; specifically, various things that went on the day we shot the "Prayfit Minutes" portion of the discs. Wow, I had never seen any of it. Great memories. (We've posted a quick 10 seconds from that day for you to see below.) But I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon watching what was going on before and after the cameras rolled. And you know, everything you saw on the DVD was the result of dozens of people doing their finest work. I couldn't tell you their names but countless people across the country have heard our message of health and praise all because of what these pros did off-camera.

In Matthew, we learn the importance of doing things for others without being seen; void of any credit and in the absence of praise. In fact, you and I are never to do good things so that others can see us. “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding." (Matthew 6:1 The Msg) The passage goes on to say that when we tell others what good we've done, we've lost the blessing in Heaven.

Giving, praying, doing. So much of who we are should happen when nobody sees it. That fires me up. The gospel done in secret. In fact, that's how God works. "When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out." (Matthew 6:2-4)

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: When the offering plate comes around in church, you don't tell everyone what you give. That would not only be absurd, but you'd lose the blessing in Heaven. How can our health be a private offering to the Lord? Are you in the habit of showing off your physical gifts from God for the praise of others? Let's work this week to pray in private, give to the needy in private, do for the Lord just for the Lord, even when it comes to our health. And when we do, He knows it. And that's enough.

"THAT'S A WRAP!": What a great day this was. We are still so honored by the countless people from Lionsgate Entertainment who did such an amazing job on set. And while we won't show you too much of all the footage, we thought we'd show you the minute they told Jimmy we were wrapped. (He gets excited)...

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.

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.

A Precarious Position

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Read: Psalm 116

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

DID YOU KNOW: This summer, PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña was selected as the first advisory board member to Pastor Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan. This worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative by Warren's team at Saddleback Church, helped participants lose 260,000 pounds in 2011. For the full story and more on The Daniel Plan, click here.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BODY TONING SYSTEM You can always browse our fitness page for cool workout ideas to take into the week. But if you're looking for something more structured that can take your body on a journey, we've got just the thing for you. PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System (Lionsgate) is a more advanced system that toggles between targeted exercises that build lean muscle and high-intensity cardio to blast through body fat. By repeating these intervals, you’ll see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. This DVD will help you improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith. This DVD incorporates toning exercises with “PrayFit Minutes” – encouraging, weekly devotionals aimed at helping you become healthy in body and strong in Spirit.

“If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won’t believe our newest edition,” says Jimmy Pena. “Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!”

>> For other PrayFit products to help boost your faith and fitness, click here.

There Goes My Hero

"Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?" --Isaiah 40:26

Read: Isaiah 40

With the recent Avengers craze, I have to ask: What would your super power be? I know, it's kid's stuff, but somehow that question still makes it to the grown-up table. So let's pretend. Would you travel through time? Gain super strength? Or maybe my favorite -- you'd fly. C'mon, how many of us have ever wanted to swoop down and save the day?

But we can't. We can't find the car keys let alone leap tall buildings. Saving the day will just have to wait. But we should remember that while we're not caped, we are crusaders -- crusaders flanked by angels, sent to protect the only thing that will eventually fight gravity and win: our souls.

So if you're feeling grounded and restless, that's okay. This isn't home. You and I were meant for a land far, far away. All we need to do is wait for our Hero to save the day. And guess what? We'll rise up with renewed strength and fly.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Who is your hero of the faith? Share your testimony in the comments section below.

NUTRITION TIP: A Little White Lie? By Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A number of people I have counseled in nutrition are confused about the differences between brown sugar and white sugar. Some believe that brown sugar is healthier, using the logic that brown (whole grain) bread, rice, and pasta is better than the white (refined) versions of those products.

Actually, brown sugar is virtually equal to white sugar in calories and nutrient content. The only difference is that molasses has been added to brown sugar, which gives it its color and distinct taste. They key to maintaining a healthy weight is to use both types of sugar in moderation.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

PRAYFIT 33: Have you committed to take the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge? Order your DVD today to start this home-based, body-and-soul makeover, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Then, keep up with the rest of the community, or just share your daily progress, at the PrayFit forums. "In just 33 minutes a day for 33 days, we can honor the one who gave us 33 years," Jimmy says.

Priceless

"You are not your own." --1 Corinthians 6:19

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Sitting in my Dad's garage is his workmanship. Car buffs will be pleased to know that my Dad piddles on a 1934 Ford Coupe every weekend. As a matter of fact, he's been tinkering with it for as long as I can remember. There's not a corner of that car Dad doesn't know. He's taken it apart and put it back together his entire life. How is that? Well, that coupe was his very first car; given to him by Granddaddy when Dad was only 12 years old. Yep, he still has it. Well, about 42 years ago, Dad sold it for a few hundred dollars to help pay the doctor bills when my brother was born. But years later, Dad traveled half-way across the country, spending much more than what he sold it for, and bought it back.

Sitting in front of your computer is God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), completely unique (Galatians 5:26), knit together in the womb (Psalm 139), and made in God's own image (Genesis 1:26). Is there any wonder why the bible says that we should honor Him with our bodies? After all, his Son went from Heaven to earth and bought us at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). So go ahead, tinker a little. Piddle a bit. Enjoy working on something with the Lord He designed and gave to you.

(You know, I don't think Dad will ever finish that old car. Not because he can't, but because I think he simply enjoys working on something Granddaddy first gave him, and they worked on together.)

--Jimmy Peña

EXCLUSIVE: THOMAS NELSON RELEASES PRAYFIT DVD NO. 2 PrayFit's 33-Day Body Toning System available now through world's largest Christian publisher

PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System (Lionsgate) is a more advanced system that toggles between targeted exercises that build lean muscle and high-intensity cardio to blast through body fat. By repeating these intervals, you’ll see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. This DVD will help you improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith. This DVD incorporates toning exercises with “PrayFit Minutes” – encouraging, weekly devotionals aimed at helping you become healthy in body and strong in Spirit.

“If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won’t believe our newest edition,” says Jimmy Pena. “Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!”

>> For other PrayFit products to help boost your faith and fitness, click here.

>> Interested in having PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña come to speak at your church? Write us today for more info!

A PrayFit Prayer

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Timothy 4

Life is not about the body, but our health is a means of praise. So this week, before that first rep, regardless of what workout you are taking to the gym with you, take a few moments and whisper this prayer, quietly taking stock of the ultimate goal: to honor the One who created you.

Lord, please bless my workout. As I train my arms, let it remind me that I'm held tightly in Yours. As I work my legs, let it be only to follow you more closely. When I work my chest, may it be safely under a breastplate of righteousness. And when I hit my back, I'll recall that I'll never be attacked by surprise. And finally Lord, allow my beating heart to grow stronger, knowing that's exactly where You live. Yes Lord, please bless my workout. I'm a temple, here to worship.

In Jesus' name, I train, Amen.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK

This one's on you! No matter what you enjoy doing for exercise -- walking, running, lifting -- we want you to give us the scoop. Give other PrayFit faithfuls some ideas to try in their world.

If you're looking for something to train along to at home, something that incorporates a little more resistance, try our new DVD! Exclusively released by Thomas Nelson Publishers and produced by Lionsgate Entertainment comes The Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System.

Or for some quick training ideas, click here!

Opening Day

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." --Romans 8:1

Read: Romans 8

Last week marked the beginning of the 2012 Major League Baseball season. Of course, many of you know we're thrilled that the boys of summer have taken the field. In fact, I'm not kidding when I say I've been whistling "Take me out to the ballgame" a lot lately. (And maybe now so are you.)

But as I watched my beloved Yankees take the field, it occurred to me that opening day can teach us a lot about grace. Reason being, right before Jeter's first at-bat, all they could talk about was last season's stats. And yet, as he stepped into the batter's box, his average on the screen was .000 -- a clean slate.

You know, each morning you and I step up to the plate ready to swing away at whatever the day throws at us. Thankfully, no matter how many strikeouts we had yesterday, God's mercy is new with each plate appearance. And with yesterday being Easter, it's so appropriate don't you think? Jesus conquered death so we can have life; an abundant life with no record of wrongs. Let's rise today the way Jesus rose yesterday...victorious.

You know, I'm now whistling a medley. "Take me out to the ballgame"...because I know "He Lives".

--Jimmy Peña

NEW: PRAYFIT 33-DAY TOTAL BODY SYSTEM

Get ready to transform your health. Building on the strong success of our first DVD, PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, we are proud to partner with Lionsgate Entertainment and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the exclusive release of our second DVD, Prayfit 33-day Body Toning System.

"If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won't believe our newest edition," says Jimmy Pena. "Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!"

>> ORDER: Be among the first to try the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System. This workout is an extension of the first DVD and can provide a welcome challenge for exercisers of all levels. Each DVD is rounded out by PrayFit Minutes, inspirational messages from founder Jimmy Pena that feed the soul and remind us of a fundamental truth: God cares about our health. Click here to get started!

Rattle Some Chains

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'" --Isaiah 6:8

We often pray for God to send us where He wants us to go. You've probably said, "Here I am Lord... send me." Well, when Paul was put in prison, he kissed the walls. He figured he had a captive audience. If this is where God wanted him, he was gonna rattle some chains.

So take a look around you. Do you have a captive audience? Oh, you may not be in prison, but perhaps God has cleverly placed you right where He wants you. So do like Paul and kiss the walls. Go ahead, throw away the key and rattle some chains. When you pray, "Here I am Lord, send me", maybe He already has.

--Jimmy Peña

Lord, as we begin a new week, help us see those around us (family, friends, co-workers and fellow gym-goers) as the audience that needs to see You, through us. Help us be obedient, leaving the consequences to you. In Jesus' name, amen.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10 Minute Abs

After a fun afternoon Super Bowl Sunday with family and friends -- and more buffalo wings and nachos than you care to admit -- a shock-and-awe abdominal routine might sound rather good today, so here you go. Take 10 minutes and crush your midsection with these simple yet effective moves that target your upper and lower abs, obliques and innermost core musculature. The order is more random than you're used to, so pay attention to the rest periods as they come sporadically and less often than would be typical for an abs workout.

Reverse Crunch - 30 seconds Standard Crunch - 30 seconds Double Crunch - 30 seconds Rest - 30 seconds Plank - 1 Minute Rest - 30 seconds Plank - 1 minute Rest - 30 seconds Double Crunch - 1 minute Standard Crunch - 1 minute Reverse Crunch - 1 minute Plank - 30 seconds Rest 30 Seconds Double Crunch - 1 minute

>> VIDEO: For video demonstrations of these exercises, click here.

PRAYFIT 33: Step up your training with the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD from Lionsgate. This home-based workout, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, will help you build strength and burn fat, all from home and always honoring the one who made you. Click here for more info, or to order.

 

 

 

Pledge Allegiance

"...and by His stripes we are healed." --Isaiah 53:5

Read: Isaiah 53

Driving along the canyon in Los Angeles this week, I came across a tall, old tree in the front yard of a beautiful home. Next to the tree stood an equally tall flag pole. Now, most days I probably wouldn't have noticed, but as I went by I realized the flag was tangled around some branches, evidence of some recent high winds. Now, you may be just like me, but something stirs inside when I see the stars and stripes helpless like that. I don't know, but our symbol of freedom shouldn't be stuck to a tree. It was wrapped so tight in fact, I literally said to myself, "Oh, someone has to climb up there."

With amazing pity for my crimes and yours, our Freedom willingly crawled up that old rugged cross. We were helpless, so someone had to climb up there. And Jesus, with His scars and stripes, embraced it.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW Use this quick-access guide to the week's greatest hits

FAITH >> BAGGAGE HANDLER: Drop off your luggage and remain seated -- God doesn't need a co-pilot on this ride

>> WHO WANTS THE BALL?: If God had a blackboard, He'd mark our path straight to the cross

>> FEELS LIKE REDEMPTION: Your trials don't make you -- it's how you come back from them that matters most

>> HE'S MY BROTHER: Moses and Aaron complemented each other perfectly. Who makes up the rest of your team?

FITNESS >> WORKOUT: Use this mini-program to build strength and shape in your calves

>> TIPS: Courtesy of Health.com, 51 ways to fight fat

>> RECIPE: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions

>> STATISTICS: How closely related are obesity and heart disease?

33 DAYS: How have your New Year's resolutions held up? We're eyeballing the end of January (and heading into the weekend) and some of you may be starting to see your motivation wane. We've got just the cure. Jump start your routine all over again with our 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD (Lionsgate Entertainment), hosted by PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena. This structured routine calls for 33 minutes a day for 33 days, honoring the One who gave us 33 years, and includes weekly devotionals to inspire and invigorate your efforts. Click here for more information!

WHEN HE KNOCKED

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."— Revelation 3:20

It was a typical day when Jesus knocked on my heart's door. I wasn't expecting company, so when He knocked, I hesitated. Looking through the peep hole, I wasn't exactly sure what to do, so I paused. Again, He knocked gently. As I slowly opened the door to invite Him in, I admit, I was a bit embarrassed at what He walked into. I had plenty of grudges lying around, and the smell of fear lingered heavy in the air. Quickly trying to clean the place up, I asked if I could get Him anything, but He just made his way through the halls. (He seemed to know His away around.)

He first walked by my room of regrets. "Ugh, why didn't I keep that door closed?", I grumbled. Then my shoulders drooped when He saw all of the corners where I stood in compromise. "I'm sure He'll want to leave now", I resigned.

But the next thing I knew, we were in the backyard. I seldom went out there. He led me to the garden of Grace that He himself had planted. He said this garden will never die, and that I should spend time there each day. I nodded.

Then to my surprise, when we walked back inside, everything was made new. What was once a den full of doubts had become a living room of faith. It even had a new room; a Master bedroom. He said if I'd let Him, that's where He'd stay.

I'm so glad I let Him in that day. He's the resident king in the castle of my heart. I don't always act like I know that, but He shows me the garden everyday. And I nod.

--Jimmy Peña

>> IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Today marked the official, global release date of PrayFit's 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD byLionsgate. View the trailer by clicking here, or order yours immediately by visiting Amazon. Share the news with your pastors, small groups, friends and relatives!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: SAUTEED KALE Go green with this health-filled, spicy spin on kale

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 2 bunches kale, trimmed and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; reduce heat to medium and cook, turning frequently for an additional 5 minutes. Add vinegar and continue to cook until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes more.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 103 Total Fat:  3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Carbohydrate: 15 grams Protein: 5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 125 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition.

>> For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

 

FOR A MOMENT

September 27, 2011 Read: James 4

"If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." --James 4:15

Way before you found your hobby, He gave you hands. And long before you walked into your first job, He gave you legs. Sure, we need money, but He didn't wrap our hearts with it. We need shelter, but a roof doesn't cover the soul. If anyone knows what we needed to get through this life, He does. And our body topped His list. How it got to the bottom of ours, is a mystery.

Folks, make no mistake -- God makes no mistakes. If, in all His wisdom, it was important for us to have a body on earth, how on earth could we diminish its importance? Sure, someday what we needed first in life -- and the common denominator and vehicle to all our other needs -- will ultimately breakdown and fade. But our flesh-and-blood lives are just a moment in eternity. While some see the brevity of life as an excuse to give in, it's really the reason to endure. He didn't build our bodies to last forever, and it's a good thing. But He knew you could do anything for a moment.

-J.P.

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

On December 6, Lionsgate Entertainment will release PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge to a global audience.  The DVD will feature a 33-minute, bodyweight-only program that boosts strength, stamina and flexibility. The program's 33-day length is a nod to proven habit-forming behavior as well as the length of Jesus's life. "He gave us 33 years," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS. "Let's give him 33 minutes for 33 days, honoring the one who made us."

>> For the full story on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here. Or, to preorder immediately, visit Amazon.

FINDING SHADE

August 29, 2011Read: Luke 5

"And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed." --Luke 5:16

The understatement of the year would be to say that we at PrayFit have been blessed. Your faithfulness, encouragement and prayers have overwhelmed us. We've just completed a major PrayFit endeavor with our new partner, Lionsgate Entertainment, and we want to publicly give the Lord all the glory. We thank Him for who He is, for what He's done, for what He's doing right now, and for what He will do in the weeks and months ahead.

With that promise, we're going to follow His lead into our own wilderness for time of prayer, rejuvenation and rest. The next PrayFit entry will be Tuesday, September 6. We hope you have an awesome week, maybe catching  a few baseball games, while staying true to your workouts and quiet times. (Okay, ballgames optional, I guess.)

Blessings to everyone.

Team PrayFit

COMMUNITY COUNTS >> While we're away, we hope the fellowship continues. Revisit your workout journal, or jump into any of the following discussions at our forums today.

Books on Faith: What are your favorites?

Prayer Requests: Whether you're looking for prayer or you just want to pray for someone, this is your thread

Recipes: Got a healthy one to share? Wanna pick one for dinner tonight? Click here

Questions for the Trainer: Use this thread to put questions directly through to the PrayFit team

Workout Journals: Update yours or offer encouragement to others here