grace

Time To Live

"So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:50 "He struck down the Philistine." You know, I've thought a lot lately about the young David and the day he floored the giant. Not sure why, but in my mind I find myself with a sling in one hand, while rolling a stone between my thumb and index finger in the other. I want to pick a fight.

With God's Word and His wisdom echoing down the corridors of my brain, tamed courage paces back and forth within my self-imposed and carefully designed cages. Friends...it seems my health, my faith, my income, stewardship, prayer life, my thought life and my witnessing to others all deserve and require a glance down at my stone and sling. What am I waiting on? What are you?

I think it's time to say, "Goodbye, comfort zones" and "So long, easy." In fact, in the time that it's taken me to write today's entry, I've realized that I don't have to pick a fight. The fight is waiting for me. It's raging. I gotta get in it. Do you?

What battles will you face this week? Will your pride be bruised? Will vanity get the better of you? Will your self-control actually lose it? Does your health need more attention? Less attention? Do you need to talk to that neighbor? Call that friend? Thankfully, whether we succeed or not, God's mercy is new each day and Jesus is in our hearts, so who do we have to fear? Let's engage. Let's get in it. It's time to mix it up. I have my stone and sling. Got yours? If the world needs proof that grace changes people, here we come.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What health battles are you fighting? Are you dealing with an illness? Perhaps you're battling a food dependence or you've been neglecting your fitness routine? Let us know in the comment section, because we want to help you with your most powerful weapon: prayer. We promise to lift you up.

Song In Your Heart: As I was finishing-up today's entry, a song by the group 33Miles came on, "Live." Just spoke to me as I was trying to speak to you. Hope you enjoy the lyrics.

Who told you that you were all alone? Who told you that this is all there is? What's holding you so you can't take hold of hope? You're stuck so deep that you can't move. Don't you want to live? Live! Cause you are made for so much more than this. Live! Knowing that God loves you He's been with you all along He wants you to know the truth so you can live You're worth enough that He died for you His heart burns with love and desire for you Don't be afraid to receive Don't be afraid to believe That you can. He knows what your pain feels like Rest through His arms all night So don't you give up now Let Him show you how to live. Oh yeah, don't you want to live? Live.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT Thank you so much for your constant support of our little ministry and for wearing the PrayFit gear to the gym, on the road, beach, bike ride or wherever you health takes you. Ladies Black I FoughtYou're a blessing to us and to those around you for doing so. >> Click here to browse all the new merchandise offerings from PrayFit!

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His Work, One Year Later

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5

Jimmy-backDon't bend, twist or lift anything heavy. Avoid slipping and falling. Those were my instructions 365 days ago. See, by sticking to those rules, the odds were in my favor for solid fusion between the new hardware and bones. Simply, the surgery needed to take. No pressure. The doctor did his thing, but now it was up to me. Stick to the rules, and I won't ruin his work.

I can't tell you how many times over the last year I wondered if I messed things up. Did I twist too much at the waist? Bend down too far? And yes, I stumbled a time or two. Oh the fear that set in. I wanted to go back to the surgery date and start over. This time with no mistakes, no tumbles, no wrong turns.

Have you ever wondered if grace "took?" After a mistake, a tumble, a stumble, have you ever thought, "Surely God can't forgive me again" or "When I got saved, did I mean it enough? Like, enough enough?" After my slip and fall, the first thing I imagined was that I ruined the doctor's work. He gave me a brand new chance and I blew it. But I have good news. Yesterday at my one-year check-up when my surgeon looked inside, he saw fusion, healing, and progress. Grace happened.

Aren't we glad that God gives us a brand new heart? His. And thankfully -- gracefully -- when God looks inside and looks at your life and mine, He doesn't see our sin, He sees the blood of His Son. He doesn't see a heart held together by a very thin thread; as if one more fall would sever the relationship. No, when you and I accept Him as Lord, there is perfect, permanent fusion; based not on our ability to stick to the rules but all because of what He did at Calvary. We try to avoid slipping and falling, yes, but there is peace in knowing that grace took. We can't ruin His work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I think the fact that our health is our responsibility is a healthy reminder that we can't earn grace. A show of hands of those who feel motivated to take better care of themselves physically because of what God did for you spiritually? Is there a better reason to take care of ourselves? I guarantee there isn't.

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR CHURCH

Jimmy Peña's message of health as a means of praise is being well-received by congregations around the country. His storytelling 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. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com. Share this information with pastors, elders and influencers with the knowledge that there is never a speaking fee for churches!

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!

No Strings Attached

4:00pm (Yesterday). I'm polishing my shoes, straightening my tie and Loretta is making some last minute decisions on earrings. We're dressing up. And soon my beautiful bride and I will likely be the most unrecognizable pair at the party. My name is not in lights or surrounded by a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, so I know full well that our presence won't be because of anything I've done, but only because of who I know (and who knows me).

As we close up the week, it's been a tough one for many of us. But one single thing has helped us put one foot in front of the other: grace. (A show of hands of anyone with me.) One of my favorite new writers, Pastor Tullian Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham) said this week, "Grace is the gift with no strings attached." Like my presence at the party tonight, nothing I've done merits the invitation, but because the host wanted me there, my acceptance is enough. (I wonder how many entry ideas I'll get tonight.)

And oh, remember a few weeks back when I talked about my truck being a gift? Same friend. And I spent the better part of the day making sure every nook and cranny of it was immaculate. Sure, I doubt he'll see it or inspect it, but I just appreciate the gift that'll get me to the party.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYER OF SALVATION What other party can you think of that we've been invited to? What great, grace celebration is awaiting our arrival? Accepting the invitation is the most important decision we will ever make.

If you've never asked Jesus into your heart, today could be the day you do that. Dr. Stanley often helps people accept Christ as Savior with this simple prayer. I urge you if you've never taken this step to do so right now and mean it with all your heart. And if you want us to celebrate this decision with you, let us know in the comments below!

Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned against you; that I am a sinner. I’m asking you to forgive me for all my sin. Not on the basis of my good works or what I will do, but what Jesus Christ has already done for me at the cross. I hear and now, receive Jesus Christ as my personal savior. And choose to live for Him the rest of my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

For Daily Encouragement:

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Fear Less

Saturday night Loretta and I joined some friends at Universal Studios. To be honest, we're not huge fans of Halloween, but we enjoyed getting out with the gang. After dinner together, the dozen of us like Scooby-Doo and friends, gathered our collective courage and dared the various mazes designed to haunt and scare. Like, Zoinks!

Of course, I was hesitant. Not fully healed and still unable to twist or turn, I was fine to sit it out and meet everyone at the end. And I would have too were it not for my pesky friends. But in truth, a few things helped my decision to dare it. First, our group had private security in all directions to help keep us together. And second, the characters whose job it was to frighten us along each path were not allowed to touch us. Spook us, yes. Lunge at us, absolutely. But as long as I kept calm, I could walk in a straight line without fear; no need to react, wince or balk.

So like -- "gangway!" -- off we went. As we entered each maze, I literally found myself going through both a physical and mental checklist. First, I stood up tall, drew my core in tight and thought to myself 'nobody can touch you Jimmy. Don't react, don't wince, don't balk, just walk.'

Well, I foiled them. And halfway through the night I wrote this entry. As the skeletons in the closet attempted to trap me and the shadowy unknown tried to paralyze me, I thought of each of you. I figured, during a week designed to playfully frighten us, let's unmask fear -- the good fear, bad fear and the beginning-of-wisdom kind of fear. Hopefully when all is said and done, we can echo the psalmist when he wrote, "When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal men do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4)

Let's have a good week in this maze of grace. Oh, and one more thing, let's remember to stick together.

--Jimmy Peña

Next StepUPDATE: Jimmy's next step in therapy last week was lifting opposite limbs off the floor simultaneously. Not an easy move, even for the healthy spine, but slowly but surely, he's working his way back. You can leave your prayers and/or messages of encouragement below or e-mail them direct to jimmy@prayfit.com.

Flat Abs Smooth KneesSHARE TACTIC: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community...and don't be afraid to share the pages with friends and family! Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

His Work

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5 Jimmy-backDon't bend, twist or lift more than 10 pounds. Avoid slipping and falling. Those were my instructions 120 days ago. See, by sticking to those rules, the odds were in my favor for solid fusion between the new hardware and bones. Simply, the surgery needed to take. No pressure. The doctor did his thing, but now it was up to me. Stick to the rules, and I won't ruin his work.

I can't tell you how many times over the summer I wondered if I messed things up. Did I twist too much at the waist? Bend down too far? And yes, despite us rearranging the furniture, I stumbled a time or two. Oh the fear that set in. I wanted to go back to the surgery date and start over. This time with no mistakes, no tumbles, no wrong turns.

Have you ever wondered if grace took? After a mistake, a tumble, a stumble, have you ever thought, "Surely God can't forgive me again" or "When I got saved, did I mean it enough? Like, enough enough?" After my slip and fall, the first thing I imagined was that I ruined the doctor's work. He gave me a brand new chance and I blew it. But you know the good news by now. When the doctor looked inside, he saw fusion, healing, progress.

Aren't we glad that God gives us a brand new heart, His. And thankfully, gracefully, when God sees your life and mine, He doesn't see our sin, He sees the blood of His son. He doesn't see a heart held together by a very thin thread; as if one more fall would sever the relationship. No, when you and I accept Him as Lord, there is perfect, permanent fusion; based not on our ability to stick to the rules, but all because of what He did at Calvary. We try to avoid slipping and falling, yes. But there is peace in knowing that grace took. We can't ruin His work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I think the fact that our health is our responsibility is a healthy reminder that we can't earn grace. A show of hands of those who feel motivated to take better care of themselves physically because of what God did for you spiritually? Is there a better reason to take care of ourselves? I guarantee there isn't.

 

Loretta-gear

NEW GEAR!

Your health -- what you choose to eat, how often you choose to move -- tells a story. But sometimes, good old fashioned words will do the trick. Our newest offering of PrayFit apparel (as seen on Mrs. Loretta Peña following her recent Disney 1/2 Marathon) spells out, authoritatively, that your health doesn't just matter to you...it matters to Him. Browse the new selections here and pick up shirts, tanks and hats for you and your like-minded friends and family!

NUTRITION NEWS

While most people choose to focus on carbohydrates in their weight loss programs, it's important not to lose sight of protein intake. Protein, which comes in at only 4 calories per gram, is helpful in shedding unwanted pounds. Research has shown that high-protein diets are great for enhancing satiety, elevating metabolism, building muscle and burning fat. The good news is that the type of protein you choose to build your diet around may not matter all that much. A new study conducted by scientists at Laval University in Canada seems to indicate that both plant- and animal-based proteins are equally effective at aiding in weight loss.

>> Get the full story from NutraIngredients by clicking here.

A Rhyme & Reason

“Life is not about bodyfat and muscle tone.It’s about where our hearts are at and His grace alone.

It’s not about the mirror or any other measurement. It’s in our service to others, reflecting the Son He sent.

We’re called to honor the body, but not for our praise or reward. We're just simple, humble stewards, on a mission for the Lord.

So eat right, train hard, but don’t forget your purpose, God sees your heart and not what’s on the surface.”

--Jimmy Peña

PrayFit-Cover NEWEXPLORING FAITH & FITNESS

For many of you, the PrayFit Daily is your entry point to our ministry. But how many of you have really taken the time to explore the rest of what our site has to offer? Take a minute and hit up these key links and be sure to bookmark your favorites!

FITNESS: Here, you'll find all you need to start putting your body in motion for whatever it is called to do. From workouts to exercise demos, we provide you a wide variety of ways to start reshaping your body and boosting your health. NUTRITION: Recipes. Research. Dietary tips. It's no wonder that this is one of the most popular pages on our site. To start eating in balance, click here.

LISTEN: For those looking for more nutrition for their souls, PrayFit offers a selection of audio devotionals, read by founder Jimmy Peña. Click, listen, share. RESOURCES: Our book and DVDs form the backbone of our ministry. All of these products offer readers life-changing guidance on honoring the bodies that carry their souls. You can check them out here, or browse the rest of our branded gear.

FELLOWSHIP: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

You Don't Have To

"Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good." --Psalm 25:7

Read: Psalm 25 Earlier this week I received the most incredible and undeserved invitation. Details to come, but later this Fall, Loretta and I will be special guests at Baylor University, my alma mater. In the days leading up to a special Saturday event, we'll have the unique opportunity of speaking to students, staff and the community. We're so blessed and excited. Can I get a "Sic'em Bears?"

You know, the idea of going back and showing Loretta some of my old stomping grounds after all these years is already making my heart pound. I've even started taking notes on things I want to be sure and discuss with the students in particular. Oh man, to be able to go back and talk to a younger Jimmy Peña.  What would I tell him? (Other than to enjoy his hair line while he can and to eat more fiber. He'll just have to trust me on both.) So many things come to mind. But one thing I know, I'd make sure to find my way to old Russell Gym. I'd stand right next to young Jimmy as he eyed his next lift. While the gang of Russell Rats yell and scream in one ear, I'd whisper in the other, "You don't have to. You don't have to lift that much weight."

Carrying the weight of the past gets heavy, does it not? Yesterday's mistakes can feel heavier than a 500-pound bar across your back. I know, because I've carried both. But like the old Gaither hymn reminds me as I type this sentence:

"I'm free from the fear of tomorrow. I'm free from the guilt of my past. I've traded my shackles for a glorious song. I'm free. Praise the Lord, free at last."

If you're carrying yesterday's burden today, the Cross of Jesus says we don't have to. And we have the most incredible and undeserved invitation to embrace it.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Even though I know I would change some things in my past, I believe the good Lord has worked it all out. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I hadn't gone through some of my mistakes and wrong turns, I wouldn't be living the life I live today. Share your story. Give us your comments below. And have a great weekend everyone.

LISTEN, WATCH, INVITE: Life is not about the body. Our health is a means of praise. This fundamental message, which has become the heart of PrayFit in the last several years, has always been at the heart of Jimmy's philosophy on exercise and nutrition. But to put it in a paragraph here doesn't do it justice -- to hear it from the man himself is a convicting experience for anyone who has the opportunity. Use the links below to explore what we mean...

Listen >> Many of Jimmy's favorite devotionals are available here as audio files. Click here to "hear" PrayFit's founder articulate his passion for your health.

Watch >> The mission of PrayFit isn't six-pack abs -- it's stewardship. Click here for a video compilation of Jimmy's heartfelt message about caring for the bodies that carry these souls.

Invite >> Finally, if this is a message that you feel your family, your church or your community, then reach out to us today to find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next Sunday service or event. Click here for more info.

For additional PrayFit resources, such as books or DVDs, click here.

You Know The Story, Part II

"So he got up and went to his father." --Luke 15:20

Read: Luke 15

We had a rule growing up. If my brother and I got in trouble for doing something wrong, we weren't allowed to keep pouting about it. No sir. Once it was done, and my brother got what he deserved, it was over. Finished. Like it never happened. Well okay, we suffered consequences, yes, but it wasn't held over our heads. In fact, if I was pouting about it later on, you guessed it, I got in trouble for pouting. You know what that taught me? Trust. I trusted my parents. I knew what to expect. Periodically reprimanded, constantly loved.

Although he came back with memories of deeds as stinky as his pig-slopped clothes, yesterday's prodigal couldn't stray beyond his father's love. Before he knew it, a robe replaced his rags, a ring dressed his hand and a feast filled his belly. And while you and I may not have mud on our shoes, there's not a person reading this sentence who doesn't need that kind of grace from a grace-giving God.

You know, many of us have treated our bodies -- our inherited health -- much like the prodigal treated his promised pay. We've over spent and wasted it. But something tells me the prodigal son took better care of the things he was given after he got home. And so can we. For some, there's a family waiting for you, too; waiting for you to start eating better, to stop smoking, to start exercising. They're waiting to celebrate you. Who's coming home, been home, staying home? You're the life of their party. It doesn't begin without you.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Knowing that God sees our hearts, not our waistline, should invigorate and empower us to be better stewards of health. We're constantly loved. Doesn't that fire you up to live your entire life to its fullest? Let's see a few "YES" comments. We ask again: Who's coming home, been home, staying home?

NUTRITION TIP: Eat in Balance for Sustained Health

With all the fad diets out there that promise to help you lose weight for good, the best one may have been under your nose this whole time. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that the body responded best to a diet that was split equally among the three macronutrients — carbs, protein and fat.

>> Click here for more on the study!

Unearned Health

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above." --James 1:17

Read: James 1

You've likely seen someone boast that health is "Always earned, never given." Sounds reasonable, right? You put in the work, you get the reward. Sounds reasonable, but it's not true. Health is not earned. Granted, some people appropriately celebrate their health (and hopefully more and more of us each day), but even the byproducts of that discipline -- toned muscle, greater endurance, increased strength -- gift...gift...gift. Oh we don't like to admit it. We like to think we've earned the right to raise that banner and boast, "I EARNED THIS!" But in truth, it's when we realize we have undeserved and unearned health that we can make the greatest impact with it.

You might also consider the flip-side. There are those among us who are statistically apparently healthy, but who choose a sedentary lifestyle over an active one. Those who opt for poor food choices over balanced, sensible meals. Despite great genetics, honorable stewardship is the furthest thing from their minds. If you're like me, you may have people close to you who have absolutely no health issues, but have no issue with abusing it; alive but not living. Healthy vital signs? Sure. Earned? No. A gift. Unopened, but a gift nonetheless.

Whether they're opened or still neatly wrapped, the bible says that every single gift comes from above and that includes the body. So just remember, as you wake up with grace and mercy, check and see if your limbs work and if your heart's beating. If all systems are go, then celebrate! Treat life like a Christmas morning kind of present. Open it up! It's when you see what's inside that you can really see what's inside you! And you can't give God the glory and claim it at the same time. Christians have to choose. So choose to walk, train, run, swim, strive, push, claw, climb, and reach with every single, grateful, thankful, humble, undeserved, unearned gift of health you got.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: All you have to do is visit a children's cancer hospital and the idea that health is earned quickly evaporates. Are you a fitness person? A runner? A lifter? Is it difficult for you to accept the truth that you don't earn your health? 

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Complete Cardio

Try this workout to jump-start your week. Build muscle, burn calories…all at your own pace. Everyone has a “best.” What’s yours? That’s what your effort should be everyday.

>> Click here to start sweating!

Grace Defined

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, so no man can boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2

How much work does it take to transform your health? If you asked a hard-gainer how much work it takes to add muscle, they'd tell you it's pretty tough. Or ask someone who's struggled their entire life to maintain a healthy weight and you may get a similar response. We need help. We get educated, seek council, take cooking classes, hire trainers, study video. And we're not even discussing unforeseen illnesses, or even problems with immodesty or pride. Whether it's for motivation, specific guidelines, disease control or humility, we need assistance in our effort of Godly, physical stewardship.

So with our focus on grace this week, I decided to look it up. Webster defines grace as "Divine assistance given for sanctification." Now, if you think about how much help we need when it comes to health, how much assistance do you think we need when it comes to Heaven? A little? A lot? A lot, alot? That's why Webster's take on grace falls short, doesn't it? Did you catch it the first time? Assistance, right? So while I was at it, I looked that up too. To define assistance, Webster uses synonyms like "a boost, helping hand, a leg up." Makes sense to the world. We do our share of the work, and God does His. We try our best, but when our best isn't good enough for Heaven, He gives our souls a boost.

But grace is more than what Webster might call a hearty helping of chicken soup for the soul. No, our souls need more than help. In fact, we don't need help, we need Him. If grace were just a boost on God's part, then you and I could boast in our works. His share. Our share. But we don't share. Health is never earned. What would ever make us think grace could be?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT DEVOTIONS ON AUDIO

Are you a fan of the PrayFit Daily devotions? Were you aware that many of our best devos are now on audio? Click here to give a listen to a selection of inspirational entries from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña.

>> THE PRAYFIT MINUTE: LISTEN

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. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com.

Naming Grace

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5

Yesterday we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter this question: What word best describes grace? The answers flooded in: Acceptance. Love. Gift. Undeserved. Peaceful. Unmerited Favor. Continuous. Free. Beautiful. Unconditional. Neverending. And many other wonderful responses.

Such a neat exercise, naming Grace. My preacher, Brother Henry Powell, used to say that when you accept Jesus, you're in the palm of His hand and when God looks at you, He sees you through the blood of His son and nothing -- NOTHING -- can remove you from His hand. I can still hear my preacher saying it. And friends, the fact that God doesn't see your sin and mine? That's grace. It truly is acceptance, love, a gift, undeserved, peaceful, unmerited favor, continuous, free, unconditional and never-ending. And let me offer my own: saving -- and of course -- amazing.

Oh, that reminds me. One Twitter response I got from @larishaJ made me smile in agreement when she replied with: #secondchance. Yes indeed @larishaJ -- our "only" chance, really. Grace is our only chance.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Speaking of a neat exercise, how does grace shape the way you view your health and fitness? Does it empower you to be a better steward? Knowing God sees your heart, maybe it humbles you? Perhaps you're too focused on the outer man or woman, or maybe not enough. We'd love to read your thoughts and comments.

TRAINING ROOM TIP: Recover with R.I.C.E. When it comes to managing injuries such as twisted ankles and sore shoulders, there's a lot of misinformation out there. Should you heat it? Massage it maybe? The answer is simple and it boils down to four letters: R-I-C-E. Click the link below to get in touch with your inner athletic trainer and manage your nagging injuries better.

>> R.I.C.E. stands for...

THE DAILY, DELIVERED

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Grace Solves for Why

"But he gives us more grace." --James 4:6

Read: James 4

Max Lucado once wrote, "Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off." I thought of that last week as my doctor cleared me to start healing on the inside. See, my 14-day check-up was all about wound care -- no MRIs, no CT scans, no surveying his deeper work. He just wanted to make sure that both the scar across my stomach and the one on my back were healing as planned. And as Eric shared with you last week, all looks good. Now it's time to take really good care of what we can't see.

How many of you reading this today are doing just that? You eat right, get your exercise in, take your vitamins. But there's something that's been missing. Something more important. Something...deeper. A show of hands of those that have taken care of the body, but you hear God knocking on the door of your heart, letting you know He misses His time with you. Or maybe the voice inside is urging you to improve your relationship with your spouse, someone at work, or "that" neighbor. Until now, you've shrugged it off. You've done the math and you can't figure out why. Besides, the mirror agrees with you, the money isn't bad, and you suppose, "If that neighbor wants to talk to me -- then, well -- they can come talk to me." But that's what grace is. It's the solution to our toughest equations.

I know sometimes the math of life just doesn't add up. We scratch our heads. We multiply our hurts and subtract our days. We feel divided, because it's not always easy to forgive, or cope, or strive, or to be modest, or patient. But the longer I live, the sweeter the proof is that when you carry the One, grace always solves for why.

--Jimmy Peña

GRACE WEEK This week is all about grace and how our health fits inside its all-encompassing arc. Do you have any questions? Give us your thoughts or post a question and it might make tomorrow's entry. Thanks everyone. Have a great, great week!

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Scrambled Legs Tough leg workouts help you improve overall body composition because you are training the largest muscles in your body. And the more muscle you're breaking down, the more recovery needs to take place, the more calories you burn. Strong legs beget strong backs and stronger cores and keep you prepared for everything in life from the stairs at work to running around with the kids in the yard. Here's a routine that you can incorporate to challenge those legs this week.

>> Click here for the "scrambled legs" workout by Jimmy!

A Holy Climb

"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea', and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." --Mark 11:23

Read: Mark 11

Hey everyone. After a week off, PrayFit is back online. Honestly, I probably need to write more than you need to read, but nonetheless, here we are in Jesus' name. If you happen to be new to PrayFit, we have a couple of common mountains we climb -- two objectives as we make our way up some pretty steep hills. For some, PrayFit is a place of encouragement to begin or continue an exercise program or sensible eating plan. Others don't need such nudging on the health side but have come to enjoy the fact that we're nestled in God's word and steeped in grace.

It's a holy climb, really. That's what we chat about each day as we scale. As one hand digs for its stronghold, we remind each other of our need of greater health in order to live abundant lives, serving and doing. And as we secure our grip with the other, we echo the truth that no amount of health or fitness, muscle or endurance is worth anything if God isn't behind each motive.

So, maybe you're like me. Maybe it's easy to imagine yourself clinging to the side of this cliff. For whatever reason, either by neglect or something that blindsided you, you're stalled physically. Or perhaps your fitness is just fine, but you're so focused on reaching the summit of health or even body image that you're missing the purpose of it all. Well, wherever you are on this hillside, I hope and pray you spend some time with us each day. It's my experience that the more we focus on Christ, the stronger we are to get over hurdles or to get over ourselves.

Make it a holy climb -- one you make only by reaching for His hand.

--Jimmy Peña

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room. Below is a sample of what you can expect with our newest video offering, the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System.

I'll Say, "No"

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." --Job 13:15

Read: Job 13

My wife is the runner in the family, so I typically don't read her magazine, but the cover blurb on her Runner's World caught my eye: "The Most Inspiring Runner You've Never Met." And I can tell you that if he's not, he's close. Hit by a car at the age of six, Bret Dunlap spent weeks in a coma. His first word when he woke up? "No." Seems he knew he had more life in him. And while he doesn't remember saying it, the 39 years after the accident simply prove that he meant it.

And while I won't give anything away, there was something his mom said to him that stuck with me. She said, "God never said anything about fair. He said you got a chance." This she said to a boy who suffered brain damage, paralysis, a colostomy, and who's face freezes, and who's mind forgets what he learns; just to name a few of his afflictions. But this she also said to boy who would teach himself several languages, give 12 gallons of blood over the years as a volunteer, play the piano left handed, hold the same job for over 18 years and eventually, run. Oh my friends, he may finish last, but he runs his race; one floppy foot over another. The rest of the story is miraculous, and sad, and gut-wrenching, and funny, and unbelievable and well, convicting.

Have you ever wallowed? Ever thought, "Why me?" or stomped your feet and said, "Not fair!" I know I have. I know I do. But it's stories like that of Bret that help give me perspective. And hope. And courage. And it's stories like that of Bret that always seem to remind me of grace and what Jesus did for me on the cross. Like our verse reminds us today, God's grace really is all I need and want, so whatever else I have in life is a gift. And when the enemy tries to convince me otherwise, when he tries to blind me to blessings, when he tries to discourage my personal calling, when he reminds me that my body is failing, I won't let it steal my joy. I'll just steal a line from Bret and say "No." What about you? What is your answer today?

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are you doing to show the Lord and everyone around you how grateful you are for the gifts you been given? Is your life a statement that says, "Faith" or a question that wonders, "Why"?

It’s not just a tagline: Milk does do a body good. So do cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese. A new study showed that women who followed a regular exercise program on high-protein, high-dairy diets lost more total fat –- and more from their abdomen –- than those on adequate-protein, medium-dairy and adequate-protein, low-dairy diets.

>> For more detail on the study, click here.

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.

Bring Jimmy to your church this year! Contact us here: info@prayfit.com

The Body Forgives

"If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge that to my account." --Philemon 1:18

Read: Philemon 1 "Charge that to my account," Paul told his friend Philemon. In our reading today, Philemon had a slave who stole from him and ran away to Rome. When this slave met Paul, Paul showed him how to be saved. Then Paul wrote some amazing words to Philemon. He said that this man who was once "useless to you" is useful now. And upon the slave's return to Philemon, Paul wanted his slate clean; completely forgiven and welcomed home like a brother. From thief to saint, useless to useful.

Reading that story recently got me to thinking about how forgiving the body is. Imagine the rigors of the military or the pounding the body takes during sports; amazing how it recovers and bounces back. He sure knew what He was doing, amen? God knew all the situations we would get ourselves into, and He built us able.

You know what? The body forgives not only damage from effort, but damage from the lack of it. That's right. It doesn't take long for the body to respond to better choices of fitness or food. And when you consider that our health is only a tool -- a vessel to be useful in serving others -- an apologetic lifestyle may be the only response. To think, God nestled forgiveness deep within our bodies. Maybe as a picture of grace for us, maybe not. But aren't we glad that taking care of ourselves is only one way to thank the Lord for only seeing our hearts?

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION BASICS: Whey Protein

In your efforts to start living more healthfully, you may have paid a visit to your local supplement store. On the top of everyone's list for supplemental must-haves is whey protein, and for good reason -- it is crucial for muscle repair and recovery. But do you know how to make the most out of this wonder supp? Click here to learn!

>> For more tips like these, visit our new nutrition page by clicking here.

Even If It's Dirty

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." --Matthew 28:19

Read: Matthew 28

There was something in the water yesterday. Twenty-five people were baptized in the late service alone, with more in both the early service and evening service to follow. Oh my friends. One by one, their stories of how they came to know Jesus were read. One woman had a learning disability and yet she learned the most important thing in life. Another man was being baptized one year to the day of a traumatic brain injury and he needed special assistance throughout. And even though I was a weeping mess, none of them hit me quite as hard as did the images from the prison ministry.

Perhaps much like yours, our church has a state-of-the-art mobile baptistry, equipped with viewing window and dual enter and exit staircases. Each person that was baptized was greeted with a warm towel as they walked into the open arms of loved ones. It's always a beautiful service. But then on the big screens we saw images of inmates being baptized in trash cans and dumpsters; each man raised out of that dirty water only to be thrown the same prison-issue shirt they had taken off minutes earlier. A grim reminder that they were still bound by bars for the crimes they'd committed. Isn't that a picture? Guilty inmates turned prisoners of grace.

You know, because there's power in the blood, there's just something in that water. Even if it's dirty.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you committed your life to Christ? If so, have you taken the step of obedience of baptism? I remember when I was baptized by my sweet preacher, Rev. Henry Powell. Not before or since have I ever felt "so clean," if that makes sense. I'll never forget it. And neither will you. Much like we talk about how our approach to health -- not how we look but our heart toward health -- is a way to praise the Lord, baptism is a way to publicly profess your faith. There is something in the water. Share your thoughts below and have a great and awesome week.

P.S. On our Pastor's blog he's posted a letter from an inmate. It's a must-read. Click here for the amazing story.

THE HEART OF PRAYFIT Rather than start the week off with a workout -- as is the custom -- we want to serve you with our core message. We're sure you'll train with heart today. This video gives you a glimpse of ours.

>> To bring this message to your church, write us at info@prayfit.com!

Life's Greatest Pleasure

"People will be lovers of themselves." --2 Timothy 3:2

Read: 2 Timothy 3

I happened to run across one of those motivational posters this weekend. You know, the kind with those powerful statements meant to inspire you to be all you can be. Well, even though it wasn't exactly new to me, this one caught my attention nonetheless. It said, "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can't." Evidently, people agreed because it had about a million "likes" underneath it. And why not? Who doesn't want to show the world? But then it dawned on me: How many times someone has actually said to me, "Jimmy, I don't think you can do that." How 'bout you?

You know, if there's one thing I've noticed about the fitness industry it's that there's a self-placed chip on its shoulder and the delusion that someone is daring to knock it off. For whatever reason, Godly confidence has been replaced with a harsh, in-your-face tone, backed up with visuals. That topic demands a week's worth of devotions, but let me take it further. Even if it was true -- even if the world placed bets against one's "ability" to be do something, in fitness or otherwise -- is proving the world wrong life's greatest pleasure?

The correct answer brings me a long way to this point, and one that we try and get across at PrayFit. Let's not take so much pleasure in doing what others say we can't. Let's take pleasure in doing what God says we can. If they intersect, great. If they don't, even better. Besides, if man says I can't, and God says I shouldn't, I'd rather show Him than show them.

--Jimmy Peña

Discussion: Can you spend so much time in the gym or counting calories trying to "prove" the world wrong (whoever that is) that you actually miss what God is calling you to do with the health you're building? What if the world said, "Believer, I bet you can't invite a perfect stranger to church. I bet you can't give to the homeless person on the corner. I bet you can't be modest." If that's what the world said we couldn't do, I wonder if we'd try to prove it wrong. Would it help us if we realized those things are God's will already? Share your thoughts below.

STUDY: DIABETES ON THE RISE Just exactly how prevalent is this disease and what can it lead to? A new study highlights a few grim truths.

>> Click here for the full report.

>> For one of the best written books on the diabetes epidemic, pick up Sugar Nation by Jeff O'Connell.

Pope Francis

"But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant." --Matthew 20:26

Read: Matthew 20

You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate the election of a new Pope. Before he was named, I joined leaders in praying for whoever it was to be, as well as for the 1.2 billion people who will look to him for leadership and guidance. And like many of you, as the moment came close, I could feel the anticipation as the name was read.

If you watched the coverage, the first thing the experts did was defend his reputation -- who he was, his strengths, what he's done, and why he will make an excellent Pope. And then it hit me...

As chilling and exciting as yesterday was, there will never be more intense anticipation than the day we bow before Jesus. But friends, it won't be His reputation that needs defending, it will be ours. And even if we string together our best moments and grandest days, we won't have anything acceptable. Nothing worthy of Heaven. Not who we are, how we looked, our strengths, or what good we've done. But in divine irony and grace, His reputation will be our defense, as our lives are seen through His blood.

So we want to wish a heartfelt congratulations to our dear Catholic friends. May God bless Pope Francis and give him wisdom and courage. May he teach grace above all. His name was read, and it reminded me that someday ours will be too.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. You know, of all the traditions the Catholic church has, the use of smoke signals of alerting the world of news (and not modern technology) is one of my favorites. It certainly would be easier to Tweet it or post it on Facebook. Reminds me of something Max Lucado once wrote in the book "God Came Near." He said, "Jesus could have come back as a man in another era when society wasn't so volatile, when religion wasn't so stale, when people would listen better. He could have come back when crosses were out of style."

NUTRITION TIP: Dark Chocolate It may sound like the most counterintuitive performance training advice ever, but having dark chocolate with approximately 70 percent cocoa pre-workout, can actually make your workouts more productive. Click here to learn how.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

A Dad Who Shows Up

"Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9

Read: Joshua 1

A few years ago, I was living a fitness writer's dream -- working at Weider headquarters in Los Angeles, contributing to two of the most widely-read publications in the industry. But it came at a cost. Hopelessly long commutes and deadline-packed work weeks meant that I was arriving home in the evening with just enough time to kiss my baby girls goodnight and spend a few hours with my amazing wife before heading to bed to do it all again the next day. Though I was flourishing in my role at work, I was far from fulfilling my role as a father. My girls needed a dad who showed up.

I left Weider HQ, along with my bi-monthly paychecks and generous benefits, in hopes of remedying the situation. The overwhelming uncertainty was worth the risk. Today, I am still blessed enough to write for several fitness publications, only now it's out of a home office. With my girls now at school age, they can count on seeing dad in the seats for every school performance and on the sidelines for every sports camp. They can depend on me to be there to prepare them for the school day and to be there when class is out. They have me to guide them along when it's time to ride on two wheels and to pick them up when their balance fails them. I may no longer be at the center of the industry but I am at the center of their childhood and that's alright by me.

Like my girls with me, I draw comfort from the unfailing, divine presence of our Father (Joshua 1:9). He is there when we struggle and when we succeed. We can look to Him when we crave guidance and reach with certainty for His outstretched hand when we fall. We can absolutely depend on His love to find us, each day, and always when we need it most. We never need to ponder whether He'll be absentee in our life story.

He could have stayed in heaven but the distance and disconnect were simply too much for Him to bear. He needed to be closer to His children and was willing to bear the consequences to come. He didn't want to miss a thing. Architect of the heavens, Author of our DNA -- there's no disputing His resume. But by a grace we can scarcely understand, He is most at home in a much simpler role: as a Dad who shows up.

--Eric Velazquez

NUTRITION: Stir-Fry Basics Stir-fry is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. They make a well-balanced meal with a bit of protein, tons of veggies and healthy carbs from rice. We’ll run you through the basic steps to get you started, then share a few ideas to liven things up.

>> "Wok" this way for better stir-fry! (Click here)

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