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Increase Our Faith

"The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!'" --Luke 17:5

Read: Luke 17

Faith. It's been a neat week, has it not? If you've been with us each day, we've discussed faith as the reason we take the hits that life throws in our direction. We've watched it as it gets us to our feet and walks us to class, and we've learned that it's the reason we sacrifice the dearest things in life for the One we can't live without.

You know, each weekday for nearly six years, we've written to you about health, fitness and food with the hope that you'd enjoy a more abundant lifestyle. Be it for yourself, your spouse, your kids, co-workers and friends, a genuine care and Godly honoring of the body is the best way to live life. But it's my hope that if you don't remember a thing we say about training or take a bite of one our recipes, you leave here everyday with a message. As Eric will attest, my favorite button on the keyboard is the delete button. I admit, it's true. Not a word gets to you before it really gets to me. We don't write sentences to fill a page but to fill your hearts. (Some of you are likely thinking I should hurry to the end of this page. Well, I agree.)

Faith after all -- like James says -- is dead to the world if it's not accompanied by action. What's the age-old truth? Saved by grace and faith proves it? I say we go out there and do just that.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: How has your faith increased this year? How has your health helped you see your relationship with the Lord differently? And conversely, how has your walk with the Lord helped you decide how to take care of yourself? Friends, we sure are glad you're with us each day. May God bless all of you this weekend and we'll see you on Monday.

PAUSE, LISTEN, REFLECT: Did you know that many of PrayFit's top devotionals are available on audio? If you're looking for additional inspiration to finish the week -- and who isn't? -- you can click here for a selection of messages, read by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Take in a few devotions, then share the link with friends and family.

“This exciting devotional will enable you to live out the Scripture which says to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength! (Mark 12:30 NIV)” — Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers, 2010 American League MVP

>> Josh Hamilton, now patrolling the outfield for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was PrayFit's first official endorser back in 2010. This list later grew to include such names as actor/producer Tyler Perry, TV host Mario Lopez, boxing champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero and more. Click here to find out who else has found value in PrayFit's daily messages, books and exercise plans.

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. To find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next church service, retreat or community event, contact us at info@prayfit.com today!

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."&mdas; Luke 2:16

"What do you give to someone who has everything?" That's a common question asked year after year by a countless number of people.  But what do you give someone who is everything? Well, that original question was uttered only once by a small group of eyewitnesses. Maybe the Shepherds asked each other that very thing as "they hurried off "(v. 16).

Wait, did you notice that? Long before Jesus gave the lame the strength to walk, He had shepherds running. After the angel told them the news, I doubt they hung around the fields, or grabbed a bite to catch up on the latest herder's gossip. No, the news of Jesus had these shepherds high-stepping with hearts pumping. Were they unsure of what to give God? Perhaps. But they were ironclad-certain about doing their best just to get there. Showing up out of love, out of excuses and out of breath. What they lacked in presents, they made up with their presence.

–Jimmy Peña

ACTION! Yesterday, we reminded each other that "go" is still an action verb. Here are six more that will continue to help us build the PrayFit Nation

>> WATCH: To start PrayFit's new at-home DVD, click here. (Click here for the trailer)

>> JOIN: To hop in our now 7,000-strong community on Facebook, click here.

>> READ: To order PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days, click here.

>> WEAR: To set yourself or a friend up with some cool PrayFit gear, click here.

>> TWEET: To follow us on Twitter, click here.

>> PRAY: To pray with other members of the PrayFit community, click here.

Please also be sure to use our social networking features — Recommend, Tweet, Share and E-Mail — at the top of each page if you see something you like or want to share with others.

 

AGREEMENT ISN'T ENOUGH

October 4, 2011Read: Exodus 3

"But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" --Exodus 3:11

I wonder if Moses ever went back to the place of the burning bush. Oh, I know it's doubtful, but for one of the pillars of our faith, that spot was a pivotal point in his life, and for yours and mine. But he didn't just agree there. He didn't concur with a sophisticated nod like he was looking at some priceless work of art. No, his body had to get him where his soul had to go. A simple agreement wasn't enough. And so with ashes still on his sandals, he marched through Pharaoh's front door to prove it.

What about you? Do you remember when you were called to task? For me, my soul was called in the 8th grade, then again in 2007 to blend faith with fitness. For you, maybe it was 10 years ago, or maybe even 10 minutes. But regardless, agreement isn't enough, especially when it comes to our health. Agreement is just the opportunity to prove it. So go back with Moses. Get close to the flame. Rub your hands together and get warm. You have your own Pharaohs to face. And when you do, imagine God as He nods, looking at you like a priceless work of art...because you are.

--J.P.

NUTRITION Q&A Addressing reader questions from the PrayFit inbox

Q: I noticed that on page 225 of the book "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," there is a note to "add artificial sweetener if desired." Isn't that contrary to good health as artificial sweetener's are relatively "poison" and is a contributor to the obesity crisis?  Shouldn't you be recommending honey or stevia?

--Mo, via e-mail

A: Honey provides fructose, which is fine is small amounts but honey is known to cause numerous health problems. Stevia is a pretty good alternative for sweeteners, but it too has research showing some concerns over its safety. The research on artificial sweeteners concludes that they are safe when used in moderation. My personal stance is to avoid these chemicals. However, we realize that some people do need a "sweet treat" every once in a while and we wanted to make the diet tolerable for them. If a diet is too limited in the foods you can eat most people will not stay on the diet. The PrayFit nutrition plan we developed was designed to help people create a lifestyle out of healthy eating, rather than giving a quick fix solution.

--Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days"

>> Got a question for the PrayFit team? Send it to info@prayfit.com, or post it in our forums.

>> WATCH: Click on the player below for a peek at the official trailer for the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge by Lionsgate, due out December 6!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3k7_WPk5LU

BE FIRST

July 14, 2011Read: John 18

"Peter again denied it, and at once the rooster crowed." -- John 18:27

I can relate to Peter. In one moment, he declares adamantly he would never deny he knew who Jesus was; the next, he does it not once...not twice...but thrice. But still, what motivates me about Peter was that while he wasn't perfect, he was the one who stepped up. He may not have always been right, but he was never in doubt. First to reach for his sword to defend the Lord (only to be taught a quick lesson in self-control), and first to get out of the boat (only to be the example of how we sink without faith). But if you notice a common thread in the stories of Peter, the more he was first to fall, the more he learned to stand.

In our pursuit of a stronger faith, as well as to better health, we often make bold declarations that we will pray more, train more, and eat better...only to do the exact opposite the next moment. But friends, take courage. Keep being first. Set the pace with your family and friends. Remember, Peter knows what it's like to declare and fail, and to step out and sink. Pursuing obedience is a staggering undertaking. Fortunately, like Peter the pacesetter, we have a Savior who reaches further than the fall.

--J.P.

DEFINING INTENSITY

For as often as we espouse the virtues of high-intensity training, some may find our fitness tips to be a bit intimidating. After all, working harder than you're accustomed to never sounds like a fun undertaking. And while there are some actual, defining guidelines for intensity -- i.e. working to 95% of your max effort on an interval run -- you can take heart knowing that it is also relative.

One example is interval walking. If you're not up to performing sprints, you can simply speed up the pace of your walks. Try walking at a faster clip for 30 seconds, then falling back into your normal pace for 1-4 minutes. As you progress, speed up the pace -- it may not be long before you're into a slow jog -- and/or shorten rest periods. Ideally, you want to work toward 30-second "sprints" followed by one-minute "walks." One study showed that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week burned more bodyfat than those who did traditional steady-state cardio. But the term "sprint" is a measure of effort, rather than speed.

You don't have to be a sprinter to get the fat-burning, heart-healthy benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By applying the basic tenets of  HIIT to your cardio and implementing concept of progression, you can start right where you are -- today.

>> GIFT SHOPPING FOR DAD: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!