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The Hearing Impaired

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would be without sin. But since you say 'We see', your sin remains." --John 9:41

Read: John 9

"Can you hear my voice?" her Dad asked her. "My voice" he repeated. You may have seen the story yesterday or perhaps you've seen similar videos whereby, through a procedure, people either see or hear their loved ones for the first time. Well, this particular moment made this sentimental fool a mess. Watching Amy Barber hear her family for the first time was enough to make even the Tin Man's heart beat. But it's what Amy said that caused mine to stop. Looking at her dad, she answered his question by saying, "I have to focus, because now I hear everything." Only after she got her hearing did she struggle to hear her dad.

Wow. I'm sure many of you could finish today's entry, but in one deaf sentence, Amy reminds us that we are hearing impaired. We have so much going on, so many voices, so many sounds and distractions coming from all sorts of directions that it's tough to hear Him. Our "hearing" impairs us. And it's because our ears work that we have to focus.

So as we hit the day's agenda, amid the noise that makes its way into our lives, let's finish the exchange as our sweet Father asks: "Can you hear my voice? My voice?"

Actually, I think I will let you finish this one...

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What areas of life do you need to tune out in order to hear Him?

AWARD NEWS: This Friday, PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña will be honored by his alma mater, UT Tyler, as one of this year's distinguished alumni. Read the story here.

WILLFUL DESTRUCTION A few eye-opening facts about the most troubling health problem in America

--The annual healthcare costs of obesity in this country are $147 billion a year. This could rise to as much as $344 billion by 2018, according to one major study.

--Obesity has become one of the most expensive health problems in America today, surpassing smoking, according to a study in Health Affairs.

--Two-thirds of Americans are overweight although 85% of Americans characterize their lifestyle as somewhat/very healthy.

--Obese employee sick days total approximately 39 million workdays and 63 million doctor visits yearly.

--12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight.

--Nearly a third of the children in this country are overweight and some experts believe up to one third of children will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

--For the first time in the history of our nation, some medical experts warn that this younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents as a direct result of the obesity epidemic.

Source: CNBC's "One Nation, Overweight"

We Are The Crowd

"Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.' So they called to the blind man, 'Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you!' Throwing his cloak aside, he leaped to his feet and came to Jesus."--Mark 10:49-50

Read: Mark 10

No need to adjust your computer screen, that’s indeed the same verse as yesterday's entry. But I just had to go back to it. Ever since we posted last night, I haven’t been able to get a particular thought out of my head: The crowd knew something. Read the verse again.

Typically, we focus on either the blind man, Bartimaeus or, of course, Jesus. But the crowd's response has bugged me for nearly 24 hours. The crowd is…us. Why? Because they knew something. They knew what Jesus had the power to do in the blind man's life. Otherwise, they wouldn't have reacted as if the beggar had just won the lottery!

Read it again. Of all the thousand voices that were clamoring for Jesus to hear, that of a blind beggar behind all the others sitting on the side of the road found the ear of Jesus, and the crowd knew what that meant. Can't you just see them pause, their wide eyes, open mouths, and then their whiplash reactions as they run to the one who's number had just been called?

You and I stand among those who need to heed the call. Read the verse again (last time, I promise). Isn't Jesus calling everyone? Didn't He die for all the world? And if we've been saved and healed…aren't we the crowd who knows?

–Jimmy Peña

Question: Who in your life needs to know what you know?

GYM TIP: There's more than one way to use a treadmill. A recent study found that those who pedaled backward on treadmills and elliptical machines gained greater quadriceps and hamstring strength and had greater aerobic capacity than those who went forward. Click here for more.

bg-speaking-engagementsPeña to be Honored by UT Tyler Alumni Association: Next Friday (March 22), the University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association will recognize five graduates at its Alumni Gala. Among those being honored will be PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña, who earned a master of science in clinical exercise physiology from UT Tyler in 1998. "It’s easy to think of Heaven on days like this," he said. "We’ve accepted an invitation we don’t deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn’t earn." Click here to read more.

Through Your Life

"For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?" --Psalm 89:6

Read: Psalm 89

Yesterday I got the most humbling invitation. The Director of Alumni Relations e-mailed me and said that the Regional Alumni Selection Committee selected me as one of four Distinguished Alumni of The University of Texas at Tyler where I attended graduate school. Not only that but I've been invited to accept the award at the Alumni Awards Gala in March being held in our honor. Friends, family and former professors will be there to celebrate and reminisce with me. Part of their correspondence said, "Thank you for your talent, your accomplishments and for bringing attention and value to your alma mater through your life."

Now, I'm sure we'll be sharing details as it comes closer, and we're already praying for the opportunity to speak at a church while we're there, but let's go back to the end of that sentence. "Through your life." Not throughout my life, but through it -- within it, inside it. Reading it the first time was rough, but re-typing it was even tougher; talk about humbling and undeserved. In that moment, I wished I had been a better student.

It's easy to think of Heaven on days like this. We've accepted an invitation we don't deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn't earn. You know, if we're allowed to reminisce about earth as we sit at Heaven's table, I know for certain that I'll wish I had been a better Christian, a stronger witness, and a closer follower. What could I have done with my life, my words, my thoughts, and my health for the Lord? Oh, but grace. Thankfully like the old hymn says, we'll "turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face. And the things on earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Someday, we may just find out what more we could have done with our lives and health for the cause of Christ. I want my list to be short. What changes will you make today to ensure that you are as able and capable physically to fulfill your purpose? Let us know in the comment section below.

TRAINING TIP: RUNNING

When you get in from a run, do your back, arches and everything else hurt? We share your pain, but hopefully not for long. With these easy tips to correct your stride, your runs may quickly become more enjoyable. And in delight, there is consistency.

>> Click here for three ways you can improve your stride today.

>> The Word is out...PrayFit's new, challenging at-home workout DVD is helping people build physical and spiritual muscle! Still one of Amazon's top new releases in faith, this workout is the perfect way to reclaim your health. Share the link below with others, or order yours today!