faith

Rally Caps

For his work on things like gun control and childhood obesity, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was recently quoted in The New York Times as saying, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in Heaven. It’s not even close.” The day after Easter is always an exciting day for me. Upper room moments happened all over the world as believers celebrated Jesus conquering death and rolling away stones. Many of us woke up this morning with a new spring in our step, lease on life and mountains to climb. And when it comes to our healthy goals, when Jesus defeated death, He gave us every reason we need to look alive!

So why do I lead off this week with a quote from Bloomberg? Well, because it truly is how the world thinks; that Heaven is about our merit, our deeds, our works, our good, our effort. That somehow our "best" earns us the right to shake a fist, beat our chest and make demands. Well, if Bloomberg was right about anything, it's not even close. Like my Pastor said, "That interview is called the Judgement."

As believers, the Cross of Calvary and the empty tomb are where our hope rests. Tethered to Heaven by grace, faith is our battle cry. It's a rally cap kind of day. Before we lace 'em up, send chalk flying or hit any sort of healthy routine, let's remember that the best way to show others what we celebrated yesterday is not in the weight we lift or the miles we log, but in the love we show. The power is His, the credit, the merit, the worth, the greatness, the majesty and glory are all His. It's the day after! Rally caps!

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Will you be intentional with your love today? Between sets, miles, at the check-in, the check-out, show them what happened yesterday.

Prayer Request: By the time you read this entry, Wendy Velazquez (wife of PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez) will be undergoing some major and extensive knee surgery. Doctors will be repairing her torn medial meniscus, and they could also find that her ACL needs repair once the surgeon is inside. We'll know more soon. So please be praying for her, her surgeons, Eric and their girls through it all.

Final Prayfit Diet CoverA 33-DAY MAKEOVER

The simplicity of The PrayFit Diet -- perfect caloric balance with protein, fat and carbs -- can help you get incredibly healthy and find your motivation for a lifetime to stay that way. Here are a few of the more frequently asked questions about this effective eating plan

Q: Is the PrayFit Diet a diet?

A: The PrayFit Diet is only a diet in name. It is more accurately described as a lifestyle adjustment that addresses our relationship with food. It is a 33-day program that calls for balanced caloric intake from the three macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates). Research shows that when food is eaten in these proportions, health is maximized, fat loss is optimized and inflammation is minimized.

Q: Why is it 33 days?

A: The PrayFit Diet was built out as a 33-day plan because it pays tribute to the 33 years Jesus gave us and because a month-long plan is proven to by research to be highly effective time frame to create change within the body and to develop positive eating habits.

Q: How much weight can I lose on the PrayFit Diet?

A: This is perhaps the most asked question when it comes to any nutrition book. Those who follow the program to the letter, particularly those with more weight to lose, can lose up to 20 pounds in 33 days in combination with regular activity. But this book goes so far beyond the pounds and inches that you stand to lose this month. Because we don't ask you to eliminate any macros, as is the case with some "diets," you are not left feeling deprived. You will be getting enough carbs to fuel workouts and daily activity, enough protein to repair and build muscle and enough fat to cushion joints and bolster heart health. Because of this, the PrayFit Diet is utterly sustainable. No need to cycle off and come back to it. By following the principles outlined in these pages, you'll have the only manual you need to feed yourself and your family healthy, wholesome meals, day in and day out, forever.

>> To order a copy of The PrayFit Diet for yourself or someone else, click here!

A Powerful Statement

"Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." --Isaiah 2:5

Read: Isaiah 2

Walking is a powerful statement. We've spent a few days this week on the subject, but there are a few biblical faces I wish I could see as they put one foot in front of the other. Try to imagine Abraham's anguished face as he walked with Isaac toward the altar; a wide-eyed Moses when his feet touched the Red Sea's floor; a groggy Lazarus coming out of the tomb; a soon-to-be-blind Saul heading to Damascus. The visionary Paul pacing in prison writing, "We walk by faith". Picture the crippled boy carrying his bed through town, or a once-blind Bartimaeus -- now turned follower -- not letting Jesus out of his sight. I'd love to have seen Simone the Cyrene heading to Jerusalem, or Simon the Cyrene leaving Jerusalem. The two mourning disciples shuffling along the road to Emmaus just before their eyes were opened, or Peter's look of wonder as he strolled across the water.

Oh, we could go on and on, right? Some of the greatest moments of all-time occurred during one of life's most basic yet powerful actions. Whether they were called, healed, leading, following or reminiscing, we get to imagine their faces of faith as they walked. But I don't think the best evidence of its power is found on the floor of the Red Sea. It's not on the island of Patmos or somewhere along the road to Damascus.

How does the Bible describe the miracle moment of the Word becoming flesh? He walked among us. Of all the ways God chose to relate to us, making footprints was one of them. And those precious feet wouldn't stop until they were nailed to a Roman cross. The hill of Calvary didn't require Paul's brilliant mind, Job's resilience, Mary's innocence, Luke's precision, Joseph's persistence or the positive encouragement of Barnabas. No, Calvary required the perfect, spotless, blameless, loving, grace-giving walk of the Savior.

Evidence of faith, of agreement, of courage, of vision, of passion and purpose, of love and amazing grace. Walking is a powerful statement.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: We know the specialness of a walk, don't we? The bride in her aisle. The soldier exiting the plane home. The surgeon walking out to family with good news. What walk are you about to make? What steps of faith will you take to get your soul where it needs to go? Make no mistake, your walk is powerful statement. Say something with it today.

Sister Powell Update: Hey everyone, Sister Powell received the prayers and thoughts from everyone. She's traveling from the jungle of Cambodia en route home. Thank you guys for blessing her and me with your words. Here is her reply to you all:

"Jimmy, I am honored by your kindness and your generous spirit toward Henry and me. I praise the Lord that Henry lived long enough to see the Godly man you have become. I thank the Lord we both saw the stable marriage you and Loretta have. And, I thank the Lord for my PrayFit partners. I just received this e-mail and devotion. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.

You are like the steel girders under the bridge, holding me up. I cannot even express the encouragement you deliver to me through your words and responses. Encourage means to put courage in another. Truly, you have and continue to do that for me. I am both humbled and grateful."

DID YOU KNOW?

High blood sugar can sour your mood. In a recent study, researchers found that people who drink two and a half cans of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious than those drinking less pop. What's more, the depressed have a heightened risk for Type II diabetes. The reverse also holds true: Diabetics are twice as likely as others to suffer depression.

Source: Jeff O'Connell's "Sugar Nation"

The Scars & Stripes

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

Read: Isaiah 53

One day while driving along the canyon in Los Angeles, 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

Happy 4th of July everyone. Celebrate freedom! Please look for our next PrayFit entry on Monday, July 8th!

PRAYFIT USA!

6710-GreyRepresent your dedication to faith, fitness and country with our new line of PrayFit USA gear. Both guys and gals can find a style to suit them in the newly updated store. Get yours today while supplies last! Click here to browse the selection now!

 

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!

It's The Stuff

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." --Hebrews 11:1

Read: Hebrews 11

You know the feeling. I do too. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, and your favorite batter hits one deep. You stand, your eyes widen, your mouth opens! It's going, GOING...caught. That's the ball game, your team loses. But for a few short seconds, the thrill of what could have been did a tap dance on your heart. And it felt great while it lasted. Really great.

I had that feeling yesterday. Opening an email that had been forwarded to me from my team, I lived the whole "home run" scene. In my mind, I was rounding third base in slow motion as the sound of trumpets and the crashing of cymbals rang in my ears. That is, until I realized I didn't read page two. Thud. The tap dance was over, the music had stopped. And I was out. But boy, when you get a glimmer, it's like...there's hope. You have a pulse! Boom, boom. Just typing the memory of the moment brings it back to the surface.

You know, I wonder how many times Noah peeked out the window? While he hoped for land, he was in the boat because of faith. Fast forward a few thousand years and there's the centurion. While desperately hoping his servant would live, Jesus healed him because of what? His faith. I think that's why I love the first part of our day's verse. "Faith is the substance." The substance! Folks, it's the stuff. It's the matter. It's the stuff that matters.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are you waiting for in faith? Just like the olive branch meant land for Noah, you too may be waiting for God's divine intervention. What can we be praying for in faith for you? Let us know. If you'd like, as always, simply say "unspoken" and we promise to lift you up. You know friends, someday, that eye-popping, jaw-dropping thrill will never end, and the music will never stop. That's what faith is for. Let's pray together.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes1RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast recipes two weeks in a row? You betcha. This first meal is critical for success the rest of the day. It breaks your overnight fast, provides much-needed fuel to your brain and muscles and, if you do it right, sets the dietary "tone" for the rest of the day -- eat healthy, and you're bound to do so for the rest of the day. Kimberly Fuller's fruity pancake recipe will provide a welcome addition to your breakfast menu.

>> Click here for the recipe!

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

Walking Joshua To Class

"So Joshua ordered the officers of the people." --Joshua 1:10

Read: Joshua 1 I used to dread 5th period math. Oh, I was fine with the subject matter, but it was the getting to my math class that had me shaking in my little boots. Each day that semester, a small group of bullies would hang out by my locker, calculating ways to torment me until one day, I got smart and asked my Bubba to walk me to class. Little did they know that the skinniest kid in school was the younger brother of the toughest. They did the math.

In our passage today, Moses has just died and the responsibility fell on Joshua. In preparing Joshua to address the people, you notice God say things like, "Nobody will be able to stand against you" (v. 5), "Be strong and courageous" (v. 6) "Be strong and very courageous" (v. 7) and then again God finishes his holy encouragement with, "Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (v. 9)

God walked Joshua to class.

You know, I don't remember ever being scared again on the way to math. Not because of who I was, but because of who walked with me that day. If you notice, God didn't tell Joshua, "Chin up, you have the power, trust your instincts, believe in yourself." No, God knew Joshua could stand tall because he wouldn't be alone. And what was Joshua's response? After nine verses of God's assurance, we learn Joshua didn't hesitate. That's right. He ordered. He commanded. He pushed forward in faith and trust. (Because that's how winning is done.)

Folks, faith says that there aren't enough problems waiting around today's corner that can add up or stand up to the One you bring with you. Like we said yesterday, life hits hard. Life can bully. And if we rely on our "selves," we do have reason to fear. But like Joshua and that skinny fifth grader, you and I don't walk to class alone.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What are you facing that needs your absolute faith and trust that God is with you? Health, financial, relationships, hardships? What can we be praying with you about?

EXTREME MAKEOVER: FRIDGE EDITION Body makeovers start in the kitchen. So for 2013, it’s out with the old and in with the new for your fridge and freezer. We’ve got five things to scratch off your shopping list and five fresher, healthier, and more affordable things to put in their place.

>> Click here for tips on how to retrofit your fridge for year-round clean eating. Prayfit Stainless Steel Water BottleSHOP FIT: Looking for some new fitness swag to sweat up in your pursuit of a leaner, healthier body? We've got just the thing(s).

Click here to explore the newly updated PrayFit store!

The Promise of Grace

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." --2 Corinthians 12:8

Read: 2 Corinthians 12

This being "Grace Week," I wanted to share (or remind some of you) of a phone call I took from a listener while I was on Moody Bible Radio last year.

She struggles with a physical ailment -- one she can't shake. Lord only knows how many times she's gone to the foot of the cross for healing. The sleepless nights, the prescriptions that don't help, the brokenness untold. Perhaps she asks Heaven if this is how she'll have to endure earth. Maybe you can relate because you've whispered similar on your own tear-stained pillow.

Paul could. We don't know for sure what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was but we do know he was soul-stricken by it. Whether it was physical or spiritual, Paul begged God to remove it. God's response? Let's hear it from Paul:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Paul mentions that God said, "No" in order to prevent him from becoming conceited. And yes, it's only God who knows what He's protecting you and me from or, like Paul, what God is enabling us to do in an even better way when the answer is no.

Today you may be searching for the answer to the question Why? If so, rather than strain to see clearly through that prism of uncertainty, shut your eyes and pray for God to be seen through you instead. Though many of us are hurting, be encouraged. If your body is failing, He won't. If your limbs have stopped working, He hasn't. Let's stand close to Paul and let our pain be bathed in that same promise..."My grace is sufficient for you."

--Jimmy Peña

Grilled Lamb and Eggplant2 (1)RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Grilled Lamb & Eggplant with Marinara Time to hit the Mediterranean in your quest for greater health. Try this tasty dish from PrayFit kitchen guru Kimberly Fuller!

>> RECIPE - CLICK HERE

"Let The Healing Never End"

"Jesus wept." --John 11:35

Read: John 11

If you haven't read today's chapter, Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. And when Mary finally reached Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days. Perhaps they thought Jesus didn't hurry or didn't notice. Either way, the grief and pain that Mary and the others were feeling moved Jesus to tears. Although Lazarus would soon be having a good laugh, Jesus cried. Why? Because their loss was His too, and their pain hurt. Imagine that for a second. Their agony hit His heart and...gush.

Yesterday I received encouraging news with one of my surgeons (last year's). But it wasn't an easy appointment. So important was this check-up that I had my wife, mother, dad and small corner of friends hitting their knees for me. I even bet my mom went old school -- like biblical -- and prayed in a closet. And it was the doctor who delivered the good news to a teary Loretta. But he wasn't crying with her. He didn't console her, hold her and he definitely didn't cry. Why? He knew the outcome. He saw her tears and quickly knew how to dry them.

You know, if Jesus could instantly dry the eyes of a broken Mary, surely He could prevent His own from welling up. But aren't we glad He knows how we feel? And shows it? Which makes me think, that probably wasn't the last time Mary cried, or cried out to a healing God. And yesterday wasn't the last day we'll follow her example. I'm learning that it's true that on this side of Heaven, the healing never ends. Like you, I often want Him to hurry or notice. If I didn't know better, I'd say this life looks a lot like that short road to Bethany.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Incidentally, tomorrow is my 14-day check-up with the neurosurgeon. Let the dust fly, and like my boys of the group Salvador sing, "Let the healing never end". Amen?

REPORT: ROOT OF THE PAIN Are you walking around each day with chronic pain in your knees or back? It might not be the thrashing you put on your body in your formidable years. It may be the few extra pounds you've accumulated since. The good news is that there's an easy fix.

>> Get the full report here.

LISTEN: Want to take in some of your favorite entries direct from Jimmy? Click here for a selection of audio devotions and be sure to share the link with your social networks!

To Be That Little Boy

"And he said, 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.'" --Matthew 18:3

Read: Matthew 18

What a memory. As a little boy, I was too afraid of what was underneath the bed, so to say my prayers I'd get on my knees on top of it. I remember it like it was yesterday. To say I was scared would be like saying Beethoven wrote some music -- an understatement to say the least. I even remember hoping I wouldn't hurt Jesus' feelings. Kid stuff. But all I knew at the time was 1) my biggest fear was underneath my bed and 2) Jesus wanted me to talk to him; a tricky situation for a kid my age. (Oh, give me the faith of a child again, amen?)

You know, Jesus more than wants us to be like children, He commands it. Not sure why it happens, but as our childlike fear diminishes, so goes our childlike faith. And I'm not sure exactly when that little scenario of mine ended, but the truth is, even though my fears today aren't awaiting me under the bed, I should be no less desperate to talk to Him. So if I think about it, those were actually my best moments, because our best trait is our dependence on Him.

I bring this little story up because my first day back from the hospital last week I realized -- I'm afraid -- that I can't kneel. The only difference is, I'm not worried it will hurt His feelings. But you know -- if it makes sense -- I kind of wish I worried about things like that.

In the area of health, what is your childlike prayer today? Desperate to be healthy for your spouse or family? Are you or one of your loved ones suffering unimaginable pain? If so, let's go to Him. Let's be kids again. List your prayer request or simply say "unspoken" and I promise, he may not be kneeling at his bedside, but that little boy will pray for you.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy Oven "Fried" Chicken On our long list of cultural comfort foods in America, fried chicken holds a special place near the top. Unfortunately, your local bird fry isn't exactly conducive to the whole "abundant health" thing. Luckily, Kimberly Fuller is offering us all a healthier alternative. Click the link below for the recipe!

>> Healthier fried chicken - click here

The Home of Your Dreams

"I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" --Psalm 122:1

Read: Psalm 122

It's the home of your dreams. White picket fence, freshly cut grass, backyard with a grill. It's that kind of home. When you close your eyes and grin, you're swinging on that front porch watching kids that miraculously -- and perhaps unfortunately -- have your nose. It's the home of your dreams. But despite your best offer, the price is too high. All the money you have can't justify the money you'd owe, so you're labeled unworthy; declined.

Say, have you ever been in a billionaire's bedroom? I have. Ever walked the President's garden? Yep, me too. And one thing is for certain...I will never own either. But while I've seen things that only a ton of money can buy, God is building us a mansion that no amount of money can. The offer was Jesus, the payment was His blood, and the asking price is faith. And if you've accepted, the key is yours. Interest paid. The title made to you. Home. The home of His dreams will someday be yours.

So as you and I strive for our little slice of Heaven on earth, be comforted when the world declines you. Because while He keeps asking, God knows what it's like for people to say His offer just isn't enough.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Sometimes our bodies that house our souls aren't exactly up to par. Whether by an unforeseen circumstance or perhaps neglect, you feel the Spirit grieve because of it. If so, we want to pray for you. What are your hurts today? What can we pray for? We want to know so we can lift you up. Either let us know or simply say, "Unspoken" and we promise to pray.

FUEL AND FAT

Like most Americans, you probably paid somewhere near $4.00 a gallon at the pump this week. But before you go and blame Middle East unrest, market instability or rapid inflation, you might want to consider the following information.

>> Click here for the story.

Move With Your Life

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." --James 2:26

Read: James 2

How many times have we asked God to move in our lives? I wonder if it even comes close to the number of times He's asked us to move with ours. Follow me through the day: The homeless beggar outside the supermarket; the lonely neighbor nobody ever seems to talk to; the teacher everybody gossips about. How many times a day does God ask us to move with our lives?

Same goes with our bodies. You may find yourself asking the Lord for the strength to stick with better food choices or for motivation to begin an exercise plan. But friends, if you know Him, He's made His move. The real question is whether the miracle He's done in your heart has reached your feet.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Fighter Conditioning

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don’t have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

>> CLICK HERE FOR THE WORKOUT

"Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day off in the right direction.  In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well." — Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 6-Time Boxing World Champion

>> Be sure to watch Robert Guerrero take on pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather on May 4! Keep visiting here for more information on the fight, or visit the official fight site here.

Peace of the Puzzle

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." --1 Corinthians 14:33

Read: 1 Corinthians 14

I've never been very good at riddles. My brain just doesn't work like that. Crosswords? Forget 'em. For the life of me, I can't keep from looking up the answers in the back of the book. But puzzles? Well, that's a different story. Loretta and I enjoy a good puzzle. Shopping for one is easy too. You just find a cool picture, and that's it. You bring it home, spread the puzzle out on the table, prop up the photo and get to work. It's not long before what used to be in pieces begins to take the shape of the goal.

But how easy would it be if you took away the box with the picture on it? Tough, right? Or what if you turned off the lights, what then? How easy would it be to put that puzzle together?

For those without Christ, that's life. They piece together hours, days and weeks, assembling their lives -- on feel alone -- without Christ. As Christians, our lives are not easily assembled either. (If you're with me, say 'amen'.) Though we have Christ as our picture of perfection and more than enough light for a million-piece-life, we still stumble and struggle to put it together. Yet deep inside, we have that missing 'peace', don't we?

You know, Loretta and I can both be looking for the same piece of our little puzzle and when one of us finds it, what's the first thing we do? We show it to each other. We share it. Then we watch how it fills the empty space. And it's not long before what used to be in pieces begins to take the shape of the goal. You and I have the missing peace, and someone we know is searching for it. Let's show it. Let's share it.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Whether at work, school, gym or even socially, where can we share Christ more unashamedly? Will you commit to sharing Christ with someone today? Use this (stole it from my grandmother): When you encounter someone who acts like a Christian, ask them, "Are you a Christian?" If they say, "Yes", say, "I thought so." If they say, "No", just tell them, "Oh, you'd make a great Christian." And then take it from there...

PLAYER PROFILE: Louie DeDonatis

Find out how this collegiate athlete has made relationship with the Lord his focus and what he has done on the field to build closing speed and game-changing stamina in this exclusive Q&A.

>> Q&A with Louie DeDonatis

Change in Heart

"Nothing will be impossible for you..." --Matthew 17:20

Read: Matthew 17

To hear this devotional read by Jimmy himself, click play here: [audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Change+In+Heart.mp3]

I was asked recently if I thought 33 days was a long enough period to create a change in heart and transform a life. The person on the other end of the question was referring to the time-frame we have listed on our DVDs. And my answer was two-fold. First, a month is both anecdotally and scientifically justified in helping people create habits, so we're confident to that end. After all, our resources are all about helping people get a jump-start on good, solid daily routines of devotions and exercise.

But then it hit me. I'm the wrong person to answer the question. Instead, I say we ask the woman at the well, the blind man in the temple or the criminal on the cross. Let's ask them about the day they met Him. After all, from the moment you meet the one who forgives your past, gives you sight, or secures your future, the only real timeframe in question is any moment spent without Him.

So while we could have written our books or these DVDs to be any length, it's remembering the lengths He went to show us His love that cause a change in heart. You know, it's ironic...we're bold to declare that faith can move a mountain, and yet we doubt it can help us move a muscle.

--Jimmy Peña

>>LISTEN: Spend a few minutes taking a listen to the founder of PrayFit, as he provides message that both inspire and encourage you as you make strides toward better health in 2013. Our new "Listen" page allows you to play select devotionals and share them with your social networks. Click here to hear...

>> SUBSCRIBE: If you're not already receiving the PrayFit Daily -- our morning, bite-sized helping of faith and fitness -- you can click here to sign-up.

>> GET INVOLVED: This video (click the player below) offers a glimpse of the message your congregation needs to hear. Contact us today at info@prayfit.com for details on how you can bring Jimmy Peña to your next Sunday service!

Upside Down

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2

Sometimes God allows things to be turned upside down for our own good, amen? I thought of that yesterday while hanging completely upside down on a call to my agent. I wish it were because I was cool, trendy or a serious Batman fan. Well, maybe one of those? But alas, no. See, I have accelerated degenerative disk disease, so an inversion table is a fixture in my home. Of course, Loretta makes me hang around downstairs in my cave. And each day I do everything in my power to help relieve the symptoms of an otherwise irreversible trend. My disks are failing rapidly, and they're unforgiving.

In a recent article with InTouch Magazine, Max Lucado was asked, "Why do you think we miss out on this aspect of grace and try to live for God on our own strength? Max answered by saying, "Grace goes so contrary to everything else in life. Everything else in life is a barter system. We work, so we get paid. We love others; we hope they will love us back. Then we come into a relationship with God with the same idea — that it’s going to be some type of exchange with a merit system. Religion says that if you do good, God will notice you. The Bible says God has already noticed you. He’s loved you and adopted you, and given you a new heart. Now go out and do good. It just really kind of flips everything upside down."

Yeah, grace does that. When everyone and everything is unforgiving, God's grace turns it upside down. I can no sooner turn back the clock on my disks than I can take back yesterday's sin. But Jesus gives grace. Grace great enough to secure my soul forever. And that's why I hang upside down; just in case He gives me another day to share that news.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Has your life been turned upside down? Financially, emotionally, physically? Let us be an encouragement that no matter what happens, sweet grace never lets go. Share with us how we can be praying for you today.

5 FLU-FIGHTING FOODS This flu season will go down as one of the worst on record, and it's not over yet. Parts of the country are still reeling from the epidemic and thousands more are still likely to get it. The flu can knock you down for days or even weeks, making it that much harder to focus on proper nutrition. But there are certain foods that you can take down that can ease your symptoms and get you back into the game sooner. Read this authoritative list of five flu-fighting foods from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.

>> Click here for the list!

DID YOU KNOW? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 22,048 flu cases from September 30 through the end of 2012. By the same time last year, only 849 flu cases had been reported nationwide.

Glory By Way of Pain

"May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do." --2 Thessalonians 1:11

Read: 2 Thessalonians 1 Do me a favor and hold your breath for a couple seconds while you read along. I'll let you know when to exhale. Ready? (Deep breath.) "Well," he said while reading my medical chart. "I want you to do more. Let's push it a little. You're ready." (You can breathe now). And so can I.

Like you, I held my breath yesterday at my latest check-up. As if in a cage, I paced back and forth from one side of the room to the other. Waiting, praying, hoping. Thirteen months since I first began treatment. And sure enough, by God's grace alone, I'm healing; so much so that I've been given permission to do more.

What are you going through today? Are you struggling physically? Do you need God's healing hand, an encouraging word, an intentional prayer? We want to know so we can pray for you. List whatever you want us to pray with you about in the comment section. If you'd rather, go ahead and list "unspoken" and we will most certainly pray. We want for you what's happened in our own life. Like our passage today says, "May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do." (v.11)

Oh, and as I left the office, my doctor asked me about PrayFit. Sentimental me, I got choked up as I told him about some church visits on the East coast in a few weeks. He reached out his hand and shook mine saying, "Call me from the road if you need me."

Color Peña gone. Glory by way of pain.

--Jimmy Peña

WHEY BETTER RESULTS IN 2013 If you've made the effort to step up workouts this year -- perhaps with one of our at-home workout DVDs -- you'll need to make sure that you're rebuilding muscle optimally. Most of this can be achieved through proper nutrition but adequate protein consumption is vital. As you train, muscle fibers are ravaged. It is only during the aftermath that they use amino acids to rebuild themselves stronger for the next session. And that's why whey protein should be a staple of your pantry arsenal. This fast-digesting -- and usually great-tasting -- powder gives ailing muscles all they need to get back on the mend. Click the link below for more info!

>> How to use whey protein to get stronger, leaner in 2013

Get Your Voice Back

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And he will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah, no doubt. He'll be the frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from - wait for it - none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think it would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, Zacharias' little faith spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: His name is John.

In that instant, the bible says he got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. What has God put on your heart that you need courage to accept? With the New Year well under way, what roadblocks and barriers to a healthier 2013 are already rearing their head? What is your plan? Do you have your voice back?

INTENSITY EQUALS PROGRESS

How hard do you train? If you haven't asked yourself this question lately, then it's probably likely that change to your health and physique are hard to come by. By gradually pushing yourself a bit harder -- and intensity is relative -- you will see greater results, faster.

>> Click here for more on how intensity plays into health and fitness and how you can use it to reach your goals faster in 2013.

Lord, Do You See Yourself In Me?

"The Lord looks at the heart..." --1 Samuel 16:7

Read: 1 Samuel 16

When Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez describes seeing his resemblance in his daughter's faces, this weeping writer fights back tears. He says, "Jimmy, it's one thing to know they're your own flesh and blood, but when you start to see yourself, it's simply amazing. I'm at a loss for words." (That says a lot coming from Eric, arguably one of the best writers in the country.)

But you know what? I want to be like Mya and Ella. Not that I want to look like Eric (handsome as he is), but the only thing I want more than being a dad one day is to be a child that resembles the Father.

Friends, we hope that's the message you've heard here at PrayFit. Some enjoy the fitness tips, others the recipes. But don't miss this: Nothing matters unless we have Jesus in our hearts. If we're at a loss for words, our approach to wellness merely serves as a back-up to A) praise Him with our lives and B) help spread the gospel. Despite our highest highs and lowest lows, when He looks at us, it's His own reflection He longs to see.

--Jimmy Peña

Lord, we love you. Our utmost desire is for you to live in our hearts. We seek your resemblance. See yourself, we pray. Amen.

DISCUSS: Are you a believer who feels compelled to take better care of yourself? Are you a fitness enthusiast who feels compelled to demonstrate more modesty? Whoever you are and whatever you feel called to do, we're here to support, motivate, and inspire to you to stay that course. It's our life's work to help your lives work with a deeper faith and better health.

EXERCISE IN DEPTH: The Plank

Today we take a closer look at one of the simplest, most effective exercises you can do for your core: the plank. This exercise has no movement whatsoever but has plenty going on. The plank primarily works the muscle called the transverse abdominis -- the muscle most responsible when we breathe out air. Try it, as you read this sentence, take a deep breath and then blow out as much as possible. Keep going....keep breathing out....feel that? Well, that muscle ache deep in your gut is exactly that, deep in your gut. In fact, the transverse abdominis is highly responsible for the strength of your spine and helps prevent low back pain. The stronger the transverse abdominis, the better your posture and the more likely you are to enjoy abundant low back health. Try it. Each day, shoot for a longer plank time. Here's how to get it right:

PLANK | Focus: Core, abs, lower back Lie facedown on the floor with your body straight and forearms resting on the floor. Slowly press your body up off the floor onto your forearms and toes. Keep your abs pulled in tight and your back flat while holding this position.

>> Does God call us to be fit? Let us know what you think by offering your comments on this discussion, either below in the comments section, or by clicking here to leave your thoughts at our forum.

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I Am One Of Them

In the third century, St. Cyprian wrote to a friend named Donatus: "This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see; brigands on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds, under all roofs misery and selfishness. It really is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet, in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians...and I am one of them."

I paste that quote because the subject of being quiet and holy has been on my mind lately; quiet as it pertains to humility of health as well as service. In reading the books of Thessalonians and James this week, I've noticed some common themes, a few of which we're going to dive into next week. But make no mistake, our health can have an eternal impact. Not in the way it looks, but in how we use it to serve others. Paul urges us to "lead a quiet life, and to work with your own hands," while James says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Folks, we are in this place right now to put this body to use for God's kingdom. If we make too much of its reflection, we're vain. If we sit idle and don't put it to work, we waste it. But in a time where health is disregarded as a means of praise, there is a quiet and holy people. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians, and I am one of them.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Green Herb Hummus

Ten minutes to tasty with this fresh, fiber- and protein-rich recipe from PrayFit contributing dietitian Dana Angelo White.

>> RECIPE - VIDEO

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://www.foodnetwork.com/green-herb-hummus/video/index.html

He Gets Us

"For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." --Psalm 103:14

Read: Psalm 103

If focusing on creation and how we were wonderfully made has taught me anything over the years, it's that God gets us. He gets why we worry. Why else would He constantly encourage us to have faith? He gets why we suffer. Why else would He urge us not to lean on our own understanding? And yes, He also gets the body.

As He formed us, He set limits. As He encased our soul with flesh, He numbered our days on purpose. See, most sculptors never hope to reunite with their design, but God does. We're all He thinks about! Artists may pour heart and soul into their work, but our heart and soul is His work, and He wants us back. His biggest desire for our lives is that we meet the source of our lives. And if Jesus is in our hearts, He gets us.

--Jimmy Peña

REST NOT, WANT NOT How to use rest to your advantage when training with weights

If you train with weights, you likely do so with an eye toward being stronger and leaner. And while a great many exercisers will set their programs with precision — dutifully planning exercises sets and reps for each workout — very few are as diligent when it comes to rest periods. Instead, some people will choose to rest until it “feels right” to get into the next set.

But if you’re trying to burn more fat, you may want to start watching the clock.

“Studies find that those who rested 30 seconds between sets during weight training workouts burned 50% more calories than those who rested three minutes,” says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.”

>> For more training and fitness tips, visit our fitness page.

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