Romans 8

Adopted, Home

"And since we are his heirs, we are his children." --Romans 8:17

Read: Romans 8

She didn't know what was happening. After only a few weeks, her original owner wanted nothing to do with her and somehow that message reached my wife at work. Free to whoever wants her. Next thing I knew, a stranger was coming to our house with a puppy. That was a little over 15 years ago.

I have to tell you, when she arrived she was so scared. In fact, she wouldn't come out of the little kennel, so her owner proceeded to tip it over so she would fall out. Enter...me. At the time I weighed about 215 and could deadlift a truck, so I gently grabbed the guy's arm and told him that I would get her out. He didn't object. I gently set the kennel down and unscrewed every little knob and slowly opened the top. The moment she looked up at me, I adopted her. The very second she was set free, she was home.

Adoption. Isn't it something to think that the Bible says you and I are adopted? Orphans in need of rescue, God chose to adopt us as His. You know, life often drops us in places we didn't ask to be in. Unfamiliar surroundings, no place to call our home, no one to call our own. But God does what nobody else can. Our big, strong Savior, He gently opens our hearts -- and when we look up -- He welcomes us home.

--Jimmy Peña

Maddy in living roomMaddy Girl Friends, she died Monday. Many of you are well acquainted with my big chocolate lab, Ms. Josey Wales, but Maddy kept a low profile. Folks, she stayed up many a late night writing devotions with me. She was a good girl -- never hurt a soul, made no enemies. We miss her so much. (And if dogs go to Heaven, the Lord knows she likes a treat right before bed.) Love you my Maddy girl.

Training Wheels

"Nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way Jesus our Master has embraced us." --Romans 8:38

Read: Romans 8

On my way to a meeting yesterday, PrayFit V.P. Eric Velazquez shared with me one of those moments. You know, a pivotal, unforgettable snapshot in time. The kind that leaves dads like him standing on sidewalks wondering where the years are going without his permission. Yes indeed, his little Mya is learning to ride her bike. He says she does alright until she looks back to realize he's let go. Real freedom is scary for Mya.

Yeah, I can't help it. Who reading this just loves the scene he's living? What a picture. We all know that Eric needs to let go so Mya can learn to ride on her own. After some good coaching and maybe a few innocent spills, it won't be long before she has the confident balance required to get up and go. What a spectrum. Mya will soon realize she doesn't need help, and Daddy will soon realize he has to stop giving it.

Letting go. Not something that comes easy for us. Whether it's about control, a habit, a burden, a worry, or the past, God knows how tough it is for us. But as Eric and I talked about the experience, we both gave thanks for one gospel fact: God never let's go of His children. Like little Mya, we pedal our hearts out, don't we? School, work, church, family, relationships, and health; a life full of spills, skinned knees, broken hearts and bruised egos.

Real freedom. Weeping dads on sidewalks know the feeling. Kids on bikes do too. But taking a page from Mya's lesson, real freedom for the believer comes when we look back only to realize that grace has a real good grip.

--Jimmy Peña

"Freedom for the believer comes when we look back only to realize that grace has a real good grip."

EXPERT ADVICE: Rest & Recovery

So here we are in the closing days of January. How are you doing with those resolutions? Have you been diligent about your workouts? Still using good discretion in the kitchen? We certainly hope so. Yet while some of you struggle to find a foothold with your recommitment to exercise and nutrition, others may be going a little overboard -- and feeling the effects. You see, you can get too much of a good thing. Click here to learn the signs of overtraining and how to scale back to keep your results on track.

>> WHAT IS OVERTRAINING SYNDROME?

FAITH & FITNESS ON TOUR IN 2014

Churches. Community events. Schools. Corporate events. PrayFit is on the march in 2014 with its unchanging message; one of stewardship, of faith, of humility, of endurance. The team is actively booking spring and summer 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.

You're Closest

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose." --Romans 8:28

Read: Romans 8

Last week I wrote about my MRI experience for my spine in an entry titled "Be Really Still." If you missed it, it might explain today's entry. But what I didn't write about was what happened moments before and after the test. On my way there, I stood next to a man less fortunate; homeless. My heart broke. And in that moment I whispered, "Lord, help him." And then it was as if God said, "I am. You're closest." Oh friends. This is what our health is for. Let's not be fit for fit's sake, but healthy for Heaven's sake.

Two hours later, my surgeon would tell me that another vertebrae is broken, and that I'll lose another disk in my back next month. Many of you remember back in 2010 that I had a few disks removed from my neck. Well, the look on my doctor's face said it all. The degenerative disease is eating me up. But folks, my health is still a means of praise. A means to share Christ. We can't wait. I'll say it again: Life is not about the body. The more adversity weakens my muscle, the more God strengthens my message. And until life's final war with pain, I want to stand up as straight as possible and be reckless. Who's with me? Think about this entry throughout your day. Who has God put you close to? We may be on our way to get some bad news, but let's try and see it as another chance to share the good.

--Jimmy Peña

JUST "D" FACTS...

Vitamin D isn't just a vitamin -- it's a powerful tool in achieving better overall health. Numerous studies show that Vitamin D can lower blood pressure, help prevent certain kinds of cancer and fortify you against diabetes. Vitamin D can also help you feel fuller longer, store less bodyfat, burn more abdominal fat and improve strength levels. According to Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Stronger Faith and Healthy Body in 28 Days," vitamin D enhances muscle contraction and protein synthesis, meaning better workouts and improved recovery afterward. The Endocrine Society recommends that healthy individuals get in 1,000-2,000 international units (IU) per day from all sources (food and supplemental). Those who are overweight could benefit from slightly higher doses, up to 4,000 IU.

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!

PROMOTED PRISONER

June 21, 2011Read Romans 8 "...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." --Romans 8:39 "Captured U.S Solder Receives Second Promotion in Two Years"

That's the headline that caught my attention this past weekend. While we don't typically turn our heads to promotions and awards, when they're given to someone behind enemy lines, it's a different story.

Bowe Bergadhl was a private first class two years ago and has now been promoted to the rank of sergeant. His family was given the honor this weekend, to which his father closed his remarks to his son with, "Be patient and kind to those around you. You are not forgotten. You are not forgotten."

You know, at times we feel like we're on foreign soil. The thing is, we are. We're definitely not at home. But if we're captured by grace, we've been promoted behind enemy lines. You and I are prisoners of hope. So let's be patient and kind to those around us...we are not forgotten.

--J.P.

STUDY: OBESITY LINKED TO CHRONIC PAIN

Knees hurt? Back sore all the time? Before reaching for another dose of ibuprofen, you might wanna check the scale. A recent study reaffirmed what you might already know -- that carrying around excess weight puts you at much higher risk for chronic pain.

In the study, conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, obese men were almost 21 percent more likely to develop chronic lower back pain than men of normal weight, and 22 percent more likely to develop neck or shoulder pain. Obese women were also 21 percent more likely to develop lower back pain than women of normal weight, and 19 percent more likely to develop neck and shoulder pain.

Based on the results, researchers believe that even moderate physical exercise -- just one hour or more per week -- "can, to some extent, compensate for the adverse effect of being overweight and obese on future risk of chronic pain."

>> For the full story from Reuters, click here.

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