doubt

If God Asks...

"We live by faith, not by sight." --2 Corinthians 5:7

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

I know we typically end our study with a question, but today we're starting with one. I'm wondering: Would you forfeit your health for the Lord? More specifically, would you give up your fitness lifestyle if God asked you to? Maybe you're a runner. An avid runner. Your calendar is marked -- not with holidays and birthdays -- but with 10Ks. Or perhaps you're a fitness junkie. You lift, you sprint, you jump rope, you sweat and you repeat it...six days a week. What if God asked you to give it all up? And no, He doesn't give you His reasoning, because He doesn't need to explain Himself to you. All you know is that the one passion you have in life -- that one thing that fulfills you and makes you you -- He wants you to relinquish. No more gym. No more road. How would you feel? Sad, confused, both? What would you do?

Well, before you say, "Jimmy, I doubt God would ever ask me to give up something like that," let's visit a couple guys who would beg to differ...

When Abraham got to the top of Mt. Moriah, he was confused and saddened. "Daddy, where's the lamb?" asked Isaac. But Abraham took the son he loved more than life itself, set him on the altar and raised his knife.

When the rich young ruler approached the Lord and asked Him what he needed to do to have eternal life, Jesus said to sell all his possessions, give to the poor and then follow Him. But the bible says the rich man walked away sad because he was rich.

Two men, both asked to sacrifice the love of their life. One was sad but obedient, the other was sad because he couldn't be. The difference? Faith. Faith saved Isaac and spawned generations that outnumber the stars. Faith loved. Faith sensed guidance. Faith followed. Faith swallowed fear. Faith didn't walk away sad.

Now, Lord only knows what He's calling you to do (or not do) when it comes to His purpose for your life, but is there anything you need to sacrifice in order to be closer to Him? Since He's likely not asking you to give up your pursuit of fitness, could it mean you need to carve out time alone with Him? If He's asking for time with you, do you walk away sad because you're so "fit"? Or on the flip side, if you're not honoring your health like God desires, perhaps stewardship is your sacrifice. Maybe the hill of discipline is your Mount Moriah. What is God asking you to do?

--Jimmy Peña

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I removed my warm-ups from my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. Well, the clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-ups on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

A Dangerous Prayer

"Why did we ever leave Egypt?" --Numbers 11:20

Read: Numbers 11

Did you catch it? They actually missed prison. Not long after the Israelites met freedom, they actually longed for captivity. Behind bars they had no choices. As inmates, they had no responsibility. Even though they were trapped, they were warm, cozy, and full. Their prayer for freedom was a dangerous one. Nothing a generation in the desert couldn't answer.

What about us? When was the last time you and I prayed dangerously? About finances, a relationship...our health? See, once they were set free, the Israelites faced the need for obedience and responsibility; so do we. Folks, our bodies are merely tools, not finished products. Better fitness simply means better equipped. It's tough to visit the poor from the couch, and it's impossible to see the hurting in our own mirror. But we're warm, cozy, and full (even if of ourselves). (Note: this should speak to both the fit and the not-so-fit.)

If God allows us the opportunity for better health, what will we do with it? Will we sit? Focus on ourselves? Will we allow a generation to wander before we see health as a means of praise? If so, why did we ever leave Egypt?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT AT YOUR CHURCH

We've been receiving a steady flow of e-mails over the past few months about how to get the PrayFit message -- a message of health and effective physical stewardship as a means of praise. These messages have been from concerned parishioners, just like you, who see the alarming trend of obesity and poor health spilling over into their congregations -- people who see the value and critical importance of respecting the bodies that we were blessed with, even if it's a new idea to them.

One of the best ways to bring up the collective health of your church is to let them hear the message, direct from its architect: Jimmy Peña. This spring, arrange to have Jimmy speak at your church. For more information to share with your pastors and boards, contact us at info@prayfit.com. And for a taste of what they can expect, click 'play' below.

Unlock the Door

"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." --Acts 1:14

Peter denied. Thomas doubted. Fear filled the upper room. Both the cross and the tomb were void of any sign of their allegiance, so they hid. Then they heard His voice, felt His scars and were filled with the Spirit. Before long someone said, "Unlock the door."

You and I? We deny. We doubt. And boy do we let fear fill our days. But the same reasons that sent the disciples underground -- an empty cross and tomb -- are why we have faith in the first place. So as we begin a new week, take a few seconds and pause. Stand in the room with Peter, Thomas and the others. Look around at everyday men and women with an extraordinary mission. Like them, beyond your door is a world that needs the gospel according to you. Could be at work, at the gym or even at school, but as you leave your room, imagine the disciples doing the same. Same Jesus, same mission.

Now, somebody unlock the door.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Delts & Abs

To start the week, we present a shoulders and abs workout that provides silhouette-enhancing benefits for both men and women. You begin the workout with a total-body move and work your way through progressively more targeted work.

"You start out in the strongest possible position, utilizing your entire body to train the shoulders and slowly begin isolating the different delt heads," says Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, founder of PrayFit. "The result is a better v-taper. Stronger shoulders give the visual appearance of a slimmer waistline."

DELTS Dumbbell Squat-Overhead Press* Dumbbell Upright Row Lateral Raise Front raise Bent-over Lateral Raise

ABS Standard Crunch Reverse Crunch Double Crunch

--Perform three sets of 10-12 reps on each exercise in the order listed, resting no more than 60 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell Squat-Overhead Press With a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells or even soup cans, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out slightly. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level. With your abs tight, chest up and back flat, squat down 10-12 inches then press through the floor to extend your legs as you press the weights overhead to full arm extension. Lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders and repeat.

>> NEWS & NOTES: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena just completed a Texas tour, hitting several events in El Paso. Get the story, which appeared in the El Paso Times, by clicking here.

>> PHOTOS: Hey Facebookers! Be sure to stop by the Official Facebook page to check out pics of Jimmy Pena's visit to Cielo Vista Church. Then share it and tell friends to do the same.

Gracias A Dios

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" --John 20:27

Read: John 20

"The usual?" she asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu, but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things: 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--Jimmy Peña

THE POWER OF FAITH Jimmy Pena talks PrayFit in Chicago Sun-Times feature “We are bold to declare faith can move a mountain, and yet we doubt it can help us move a muscle," Pena tells Sun-Times writer Sandy Thorn-Clark during a recent interview.

The feature, which ran today, also discusses how PrayFit has managed to differentiate itself from other strictly-fitness products on the shelf today.

"After noticing communities — especially churches and schools — suffering physically 'at an alarming rate,' the native of El Paso, Texas, decided to use a gym as his pulpit in an effort to challenge Prayfit participants to do their best each day," Thorn-Clark writes.

>> To read the full article, click here.

>> YOUR TOWN OR BUST!: Fitness as a means of praise. Slimmer waistlines as a byproduct of obedience. The evangelism of fitness is catching on and your community could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to bring PrayFit to your church or community event, or visit our online store to purchase books or DVDs to set up your own fitness ministry or small group.

Who Wants the Ball?

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Read: 2 Timothy 1

Imagine a coach before a big football game. The team has taken a knee and their helmets are off as they await the last few words of encouragement. The coach stands before them and says, "Now listen up, boys. We got here as a team and we'll finish as one. I believe in you. But...I gotta admit, I think the other coach is smarter than me, and the other kids, well, they're a lot bigger than you. But hey, it was a fun season. Try not to get hurt. Now, let's go!"

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of health issues, financial hardships, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt. On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross. His pre-game words would be the same today as they were yesterday: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Josh 1:9) and "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Who wants the ball?

Question: The Bible is full of wonderful verses that remind us of God's strength, love and guidance. What is your favorite?

--Jimmy Peña

51 FAT-BURNING TIPS

You can find plenty of ways to fight bodyfat everyday here at PrayFit.com but this list, put out by Health.com and picked up by CNN, is easy one-stop shopping for those looking to get a little leaner in 2012. The full list, which includes tips on everything from rep pace to nutritional supplements, can be found by clicking here.

>> NEW! Have you visited the redesigned PrayFit Store? Click here to shop for books, DVDs, apparel and more with our retooled, user-friendly shopping cart.

>> GUEST SPEAKING: Want PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena to come to your church in 2012 to help lay the groundwork for your fitness ministry? E-mail us at info@prayfit.com for more details!

A FLOOD OF HOPE

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"When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth."— Genesis 8:11

It might seem odd during Christmas season to read about the flood, but if you live in sunny southern California, it's pretty appropriate this week. It won't stop raining. At all. Ever. Where's the nearest gopher wood vendor when you need him?

When Noah built the ark, those around him probably laughed and scoffed. But we all know the story. The ark was completed, then came two-by-two, and then the rain (a lot of it). A year later, the dove returned to Noah carrying hope; the olive branch meant land was near.

You and I just might be going through a flood this week. Sure, maybe not a literal downpour of rain, but caught in a torrent all the same -- up to our knees in doubt, our waists in worry, and our necks in fear. An olive branch to grab onto right about now would be nice, amen? A little break in the clouds maybe?

Well, it is Christmas time after all -- a reminder that the hope we need came in human form. And those ten little fingers and toes would eventually heal the broken, raise the dead and yes, calm storms. You know, if I'm not mistaken, I think it just stopped raining.

–Jimmy Peña

RECIPES OF THE WEEK: CRACKERS

Boasting one of the most palate-pleasing crunches in the world of snack, crackers are a fantastic low-calorie food -- not to mention the perfect complement to your favorite calcium-loaded cube of cheese. Try one -- or both -- of these healthier home recipes to create a kindler, gentler cracker to tote along to your next social gathering.

Parmesan & Oregano Crackers Makes 40 crackers 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 all-purpose flour 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Combine ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – mix until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 –inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Package or serve.

Nutrition Info Per Cracker

Calories: 32
; Total Fat: 2 grams; 
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1.5 grams
; Protein: 1 gram
; Sodium: 49 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams; 
Fiber: 0 grams

Homemade Whole Grain Crackers Makes 40 crackers

2 whole wheat flour tortillas 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Herbs and spices of choice (see ideas below)

Cut tortilla into small squares. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings and bake at 350-degrees for  8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Seasoning Ideas: Poppy seeds and sea salt (pictured above) Fresh rosemary and black pepper (pictured above) Garlic and chili powder Fresh thyme and sesame seeds

Nutrition Info Per Cracker

Calories: 13
; Total Fat: 0.5 grams
; Saturated Fat: 0 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1 gram; 
Protein: 0 gram
; Sodium: 33 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
; Fiber: 0 grams

>> GIFTING TIP: Serve up your homemade crackers with grapes, cheese and wine at your own house party or bring them along to the neighborhood potluck. Wrap them up in tins or decorative bags just like cookies, or give alongside homemade chutney.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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.

 

TIRED OF RUNNING

November 17, 2011Read: Psalm 103

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." --Psalm 103:12

As I began my day yesterday, getting organized for another entry of Marathon Week, I decided to work on the admin side of PrayFit. I won't bore you with the details (because I really don't understand them) but let's just say I pressed the wrong button...or two. What I thought would deactivate an old e-mail account, actually deactivated PrayFit.com. Despite being asked a few times, "Are you sure?", I pressed 'enter.' What took years to build was wiped away with a few wrong choices (now there's an entry). So, in that moment, I did what any saint would do...I flipped out. You'd be more likely to find the holy grail in my dishwasher than to see me exercising self-control. But fortunately, in a little less than two hours, my wife and our web expert reestablished three years of content and our connection. We were told that we were one mistake away from losing everything, for good.

If you're like me, despite your best intentions each day, you sometimes feel like you're one mistake away from losing your connection with God. Not sure what you do, but me, I high-tail it. I run to others for reassurance. I run to the gym to sweat it out. But my favorite place to run is into the same old wall of worry. My sin is just too much for God to take. A show of hands for anyone who can relate? Shamefully, it's only when I run out of options that I find myself right back where I started.

Truth is, though at times we may feel disconnected, we can never lose our relationship, and His favorite place to run is to our rescue. So, here I am again Lord, out of breath. I'm tired of running. Aren't you?

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy Pulled Pork

Serves: 6

This pork is wonderful served with rice and beans, on grilled flatbread with cheese or in warm corn tortillas topped with shredded cabbage and diced avocado.

Ingredients: 2 pork tenderloin, trimmed (about 3 pounds) 6 fl oz dark beer ¼ cup apple cider or 2 tablespoons maple syrup Juice of ½ a lemon ¼ cup ketchup ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce 1 cup barbecue sauce 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning* 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper puree (recipe below) ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced ½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced

Directions: Cut each tenderloin into 3 large pieces – set aside. In a large soup pot, combine beer, cider, lemon juice, ketchup, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, adobo, chipotle, onion and fennel.

Bring mixture to a simmer over medium high heat – add pork, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to a clean cutting board and shred using 2 forks. Place shredded pork back into pot and continue to cook on medium-low heat, uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Bonus: Chipotle Pepper Puree 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo

Place peppers into a blender or mini food processor and puree. Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Add small amounts to sauces, dips and marinades for a smoky and spicy flavor.

*1 tsp of garlic powder can be used in place of adobo, but adobo seasoning can be found in the international foods section of most grocery stores

Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories: 305 Total Fat: 5 Saturated Fat: 1.5 Carbohydrate: 14 Protein: 48 Cholesterol: 147 Sodium: 510 Fiber: 1

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. You can also visit her blog for more recipes at http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/.

 

THE MOMENT AT HAND

October 26, 2011Read: Philippians 1

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” –Philippians 1:12

You’ve no doubt seen the cartoon depicting a frog in the rain being swallowed by a pelican. Upon closer inspection, you may notice the frog choking the bird on the way down. I love it. The caption reads: “Never Give Up.” From the frog’s perspective, he had the pelican right where he wanted him.

Rain or shine, Paul kept a tight grip on the higher purpose of spreading the good news. Though deep in the belly of prison, Paul figured, “Good, a captive audience.” Can't you just picture him cracking his knuckles and clearing his throat? “Ahem, fellas…glad you’re here.

Turning circumstances into platforms, Paul saw the storms of life as mere downpours of holy water. Let’s find courage in his example today, physically and spiritually. Oh, you may not be in prison, but are you being tested in some way? Perhaps you're behind bars of doubt and discouragement. If so, let's remember Paul and never quit. I say we crack our knuckles, clear our throats and make the most of the moment at hand.

--J.P.

NUTRITION TIP: Smarter Soup

Soup is good comfort food. But it is also a terrific way to get more veggies, so load up your chowder with aromatics like celery, carrots, onions and leeks. To help thicken the soup, sprinkle the veggies with flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding liquid. Starchy add-ins like potatoes, corn and beans will add texture, while their natural starches will also help thicken the soup.

If your favorite recipe calls for butter, swap half of it for canola or olive oil – you’ll still get the buttery flavor and a boost of the more heart-healthy kinds of fats. Shrink down the portion of bacon or make the switch to turkey bacon and you’ll shave off more calories from saturated fats.

Broth-based chowders have considerably less calories than ones made with cream. But if your moto is like mine -- “go creamy or go home” -- using half-and-half  instead of heavy cream will save 500 calories and 60 grams of fat per cup. Since lighter dairy products (like milk and half and half) don’t stand up to high heat as well as cream, it’s best to add them towards the end of cooking to prevent them from separating and making the soup grainy.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

GRACIAS A DIOS

October 20, 2011Read: John 20

"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." --John 20:27

"The usual?", I asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things. 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--J.P.

KIDS & ASTHMA

Want to keep your kids lungs healthy? Keep them at a healthy bodyweight. Research shows that overweight or obese children are 50%  more likely to have asthma than children who maintain a healthy weight. But even if your child is heavy, keep them eating a sensible diet and make sure they still get 60 minutes per day or more of moderate to rigorous physical activity. Increased physical activity can actually work to improve lung function, so the benefits far outweigh the risks. More severe cases should be monitored more closely, of course, so be sure to consult with your family physician before starting your child out on any structured exercise program.