patience

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"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride." --Ecclesiastes 7:8

Read: Ecclesiastes 7

I could hear it in his voice. Dejected, defeated, exhausted, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena was in his third hour of a commute that should take 45 minutes. Those familiar with Southern California freeways can relate to the emotional roller coaster of emerging from a sea of brake lights with renewed hope, only to pull to a screeching halt a quarter mile ahead. Accidents, curious passersby, construction -- all things beyond his control. Tonight, Jimmy was, as ever, at the mercy of the pace provided.

Life can be the same way. Just when we think that we are ready to meander into the fast lane, we are pinned in by other obstacles and forced to stay put until the traffic eases. In these moments, we may want to lay on the horn or maneuver for the next closest exit but invariably, the best play is to exercise patience and wait it out.

Are you stuck in one of life's jams, physically or spiritually? In need of Godspeed? Stay in your lane and let Him guide you through. Someday the rearview will reveal that there really was no better place on earth, than on the road that led to Heaven.

And oh, for the record, Jimmy made it home just fine. It was much later than he may have wanted but he arrived safely to a smiling wife and a silent embrace that seemed to absorb all of the frustration of the road behind him. Someday, we'll all be so blessed.

--Eric Velazquez

TUNE IN: You can catch PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena on the airwaves with Moody Radio host Nancy Turner, Tuesday (June 26) at 10 am CST on 90.1 WMBI or click here to listen live online!

PRAYFIT RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Quesadilla Lasagna The perfect dish for health-conscious cheese lovers

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil 1 pound ground turkey breast 1⁄2 red onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp chili powder 1 small zucchini, sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional) 3 whole wheat flour tortillas 1 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese 1 avocado, diced 3⁄4 cup salsa Salt and pepper to taste Canola oil spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add turkey and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until browned. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder; stir to combine. Add zucchini, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook, stirring continuously until turkey meat is no longer pink and vegetables are slightly tender. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate or square casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place one flour tortilla on the bottom of the pan and top with half the turkey mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Create second layer with another tortilla, and add the remaining turkey mixture and another 1/4 cup of cheese. Create top layer with remaining tortilla, 1/4 cup of salsa and the remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine diced avocado with remaining salsa. Slice the lasagna and serve topped with salsa-avocado mixture.

Calories: 437 | Fat: 15 grams | Saturated Fat: 2 grams | Protein: 47 grams | Carbohydrate: 42 grams | Sodium: 892 milligrams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently the nutrition expert for the Food Network.com, 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 www.danawhitenutrition.com

An Avenue of Affliction

"In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider God has made the one as well as the other." —Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

Read: Ecclesiastes 7

On the treadmill to my right, walked a man maybe 80 years old; on the one to my left, a teenager with a disability. The three of us huffed and puffed, each with a window overlooking a busy intersection -- sort of a fitness fishbowl, if you will. Each stoplight ushered in a new array of commuters and though every once in a while we'd capture the attention of a driver or two, one vehicle in particular caught mine.

But first, isn't it interesting that you really don't know what motivates someone? Some things you just can't see. You can only see the result. Oh sure, while the dashboard on my treadmill might give me distance, it doesn't know what it took to get me that far. Pastor Chuck Swindoll wrote, "Although this journey along the avenue of affliction is unpleasant and unappealing, it is inevitable. Working through the hurt is essential if we hope to become effective for God."

To be effective for God. Isn't that the goal both physically and spiritually? And since we know that nothing hits us without Him allowing it, it's a compliment that He believes we can work through the hurt. Or better yet, we're never in pain alone. So as I stepped in between the two bookends of life on my left and right, it was a comfort to know the steps God took to see me through mine. (Lord only knows what was inside their hearts-the history, the pain, the drive,- but whatever it was, they walked).

And oh yes, I almost forgot. The car that got my attention? An Official Vehicle of the Department of Aging. Somehow, the three of us "vehicles" could easily relate. Wow. Can't you just hear the applause of Heaven? Listen closely, take courage and keep going. Because thankfully, the road we're on as believers? It's an incline.

--Jimmy Peña

CARBS: CHOOSE WISELY

While PrayFit isn't completely against low-carb dieting, we stress the importance of choosing the proper types of carbohydrates to fuel your training and other daily activities. Carbs are, after all, the body's preferred fuel source, so extended or extreme deprivation can backfire for dieters as well as the companies that stake their futures on no-carb schemes. Case in point...

"The low-carb diet craze reached its peak in 2004, with far fewer people following diets like Atkins and South Beach in subsequent years," according to John Robbins, author of Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples. "On August 1, 2005, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., filed for bancruptcy court protection."

Remember, the key is to control refined sugar, not to overly restrict healthy complex carbohydrates. Refined sugars, such as those found in sugary drinks, white bread and candy, digest quickly and spike insulin levels, which can cause the body to store fat. Complex carbs, such as those found in whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, digest more slowly and provide sustained streams of fuel to cells.

Source: Healthy at 100 by John Robbins

ARE THEY HERE YET?

"They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was."— Matthew 2:9

This week, like many of you, we'll finally arrive at the home of family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Do you have "going home" traditions? We do too. One tradition my parents actually started during my college years was hanging a "Welcome Home, Jimmy!" sign at the house. When I got married, they added "& Loretta", and we've seen that banner for 16 years now. And no matter how quick our trip might be, that sign is waiting. It's seen its share of attics, but it brings Mom and Dad a lot of joy to pull that out of storage. That sign symbolizes Christmas, and that their children are almost home.

Beyond a doubt right now, celebration plans are almost ready in homes such as yours and of those you love. All the decorations have been hung, everyone's favorite dishes are being prepared and front room curtains are being impatiently pulled back to see if "they're here yet."

You know, I've often wondered if the star in the east was as much God's way to honor His son, as it was our way to find Him. Even though Jesus' time on earth was short, God knew how He'd be rejected, and of the cross that awaited him. So perhaps it was God's way to say, "I love you, Son" and in doing so said to us, "Here He is".

He loves us that much. And if we look forward to seeing loved ones, how much more does He? Because you see, someday God will send for us. And I like to think that after spreading the table for the great celebration and hanging the welcome-home banner across the door, the angels will pull back the curtain, peeking to see...are they here yet?

--J.P.

PRAYFIT RECIPE OF THE WEEK: ROAD TRIP SNACK: TURKEY & CHEDDAR PANINI

There's something about the crunch of a perfectly toasted panini that's hard to resist. But oftentimes, it ends up on the "do not eat" list for those of us trying to lean up or lose a few pounds. This recipe, however, is a healthier, protein-packed alternative that will serve you well, whether you're looking to build muscle, get lean or just recover from a tough workout.

Turkey & Cheddar Panini

2 slices Ezekiel Bread 2 tsp Dijon mustard 4 oz deli turkey 2 slices tomato ¼ cup baby spinach leaves 1 slice low fat cheddar cheese 1 tsp canola oil

>> Spread each slice of bread with mustard and assemble panini by layering turkey, tomato, spinach and cheese between slices of bread. Heat canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add panini and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, pressing down gently with a spatula. Cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.

Calories: 390 | Protein: 30 grams | Carbohydrates: 38 grams | Fat: 12 grams

 

TRAFFIC

October 28, 2011Read: Ecclesiastes 7

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride." --Ecclesiastes 7:8

I could hear it in his voice. Dejected, defeated, exhausted, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena was in his third hour of a commute that should take 45 minutes. Those familiar with Southern California freeways can relate to the emotional roller coaster of emerging from a sea of brake lights with renewed hope, only to pull to a screeching halt a quarter mile ahead. Accidents, curious passersby, construction -- all things beyond his control. Tonight, Jimmy was, as ever, at the mercy of the pace provided.

Life can be the same way. Just when we think that we are ready to meander into the fast lane, we are pinned in by other obstacles and forced to stay put until the traffic eases. In these moments, we may want to lay on the horn or maneuver for the next closest exit but invariably, the best play is to exercise patience and wait it out.

Are you stuck in one of life's jams, physically or spiritually? In need of Godspeed? Stay in your lane and let Him guide you through. Someday the rearview will reveal that there really was no better place on earth, than on the road that led to Heaven.

And oh, for the record, Jimmy made it home just fine. It was much later than he may have wanted but he arrived safely to a smiling wife and a silent embrace that seemed to absorb all of the frustration of the road behind him. Someday, we'll all be so blessed.

--E.V.

PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> WE'RE PAGE-TURNERS: If you love the Author, the end will be better than expected

>> THE ONE WHO CALLS: Believe it or not, you're in the same class pharoahs and kings

>> THE MOMENT AT HAND: Let's clear our throats and make the most of our opportunities today

>> NO OTHER WORD FOR GRACE: It may be worth novels but a single word will do

Fitness

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Use mechanical advantage to enhance your productivity

>> TEST THE MACHINE: Make practice out of setting the bar high and hurdling it the next day

>> SMARTER SOUP: Liven up this comfort food with a few easy tips

>> MUSCLE FOOD: Add eggs to your breakfast to get stronger

 

 

 

RIPENED FRUIT

October 7, 2011Read: Galatians 5

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” --Galatians 5:22

There aren’t many things that make me as happy and content as perfectly ripened fresh fruit.  I love to walk into the market and smell the fresh peaches as I pass, see the bananas yellow to perfection. Perfectly ripened fruit doesn’t just “happen." It is a process that takes time, patience, and growth.  There are many factors that come into play when I ultimately choose the perfect Gala apple to put in my basket and take home.

I often wonder if God sees us as His ripened fruit. Sometimes we end up the best of the bunch and other times we are a more banged-up version of ourselves.  But, the awesome part is that even when we have bumps and bruises, He still picks us. To Him, we're keepers.  We don’t have to be perfectly ripened. We're in His basket and He proudly takes us home.

--Allison King Earnst

PrayFit's newest executive team member is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act."

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER: Exhausted, He still climbed mountains to pray. When was the last time you were out of breath for Him?

>> SWING AWAY: Today's sunrise is the only sign you need to step up and swing away

>> AGREEMENT ISN'T ENOUGH: When you answer the call, it's the body that gets the soul where it needs to go

>> MISFITS SELDOM DO: Don't fit in with a world that disregards health as a means of praise?

Fitness

>> MASTERING THE PUSH-UP: Practicing variations of this fundamental move can improve your gains

>> THE DAIRY DEBATE: Is dairy beneficial or detrimental to your overall health?

>> NUTRITION Q&A: Should you be taking artificial sweeteners?

>> WORKOUT: Four moves for great abs

GEAR UP: Looking for PrayFit hats, shirts, wristbands and more? Visit the PrayFit store for the perfect gift today.

PROMOTED PRISONER

June 21, 2011Read Romans 8 "...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." --Romans 8:39 "Captured U.S Solder Receives Second Promotion in Two Years"

That's the headline that caught my attention this past weekend. While we don't typically turn our heads to promotions and awards, when they're given to someone behind enemy lines, it's a different story.

Bowe Bergadhl was a private first class two years ago and has now been promoted to the rank of sergeant. His family was given the honor this weekend, to which his father closed his remarks to his son with, "Be patient and kind to those around you. You are not forgotten. You are not forgotten."

You know, at times we feel like we're on foreign soil. The thing is, we are. We're definitely not at home. But if we're captured by grace, we've been promoted behind enemy lines. You and I are prisoners of hope. So let's be patient and kind to those around us...we are not forgotten.

--J.P.

STUDY: OBESITY LINKED TO CHRONIC PAIN

Knees hurt? Back sore all the time? Before reaching for another dose of ibuprofen, you might wanna check the scale. A recent study reaffirmed what you might already know -- that carrying around excess weight puts you at much higher risk for chronic pain.

In the study, conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, obese men were almost 21 percent more likely to develop chronic lower back pain than men of normal weight, and 22 percent more likely to develop neck or shoulder pain. Obese women were also 21 percent more likely to develop lower back pain than women of normal weight, and 19 percent more likely to develop neck and shoulder pain.

Based on the results, researchers believe that even moderate physical exercise -- just one hour or more per week -- "can, to some extent, compensate for the adverse effect of being overweight and obese on future risk of chronic pain."

>> For the full story from Reuters, click here.

>> SHARE: Help us get others on board with this whole “faith and fitness” thing. Use the “Recommend,” “Tweet,” “E-Mail” and “Share” buttons at the top of each day’s entry to get your social network in the know about PrayFit. Also, you can “like” us, “follow” us or “watch” us by clicking the FacebookTwitter and YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

EMPTY AND READY

May 20, 2011Read: 1 Chronicles 29

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." --1 Chronicles 29:13

He wipes the sweat from his brow as he sweeps an empty body shop. Every few seconds, his eyes rise to see if any customers have stumbled in, but none do. His wife takes care of the office, the phones, and the plant on the window sill.  "Please Lord, bring us a customer." They'd poured out their life's savings. So as he continues to sweep a spotless floor, she straightens the OPEN FOR BUSINESS sign on the front window. It's a good shop. Empty and ready.

Certain things that happened this week reminded me of that story. Some days it feels like I'm sweeping an empty body shop, whispering to the Lord to see things through. You know, it's when we empty ourselves that the Lord does His work. But if we're full of ourselves or anything else, we leave no room for Him.

So Lord, we give you all that we do and say. We love you and we thank you in advance for what you will do in the days, weeks and months ahead. We're empty and ready.

(Oh, and thank you for sending a customer to my mom and dad so many years ago. In many ways, because you filled their empty shop, I can fill up this page with your good word.)

Have a blessed weekend everyone. In Jesus' name, we train.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: A 10-minute push-ups and planks circuit for the ages

>> PREWORKOUT FOOD: How dark chocolate can power your routine

>> RECIPE: Chicken sausage & pepper flatbread

>> CAUSE AND EFFECT: What is behind America's obesity epidemic?

>> PRAYFIT IN PRINT: Looking for a great way to get your faith and health back on track? “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days” includes two 28-day, at-home workout programs, detailed meal plans and daily inspiration to nourish your faith. Find out what Tyler Perry, LL Cool J, Mario Lopez and so many more are talking about!

>> SHARE: Help us get others on board with this whole “faith and fitness” thing. Use the “Recommend,” “Tweet,” “E-Mail” and “Share” buttons at the top of each day’s entry to get your social network in the know about PrayFit. Also, you can “like” us, “follow” us or “watch” us by clicking the FacebookTwitterand YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

IF YOU BUILD IT...

April 12, 2011Read: Genesis 6

"Noah did everything God commanded him." --Genesis 6:22

We spend an incredible amount of time on this earth waiting. We wait at traffic lights, elevators, DMVs, for mail, for appointments, for that phone call, the offer letter, for good news, for any news...you name it, if we want something, sometimes we have to wait.

Noah knew what it was like to wait. Imagine him hammering the side of the ark with one hand while waving to passing neighbors with the other. "Evenin'! Yeah, I'm building an ark! For the, uhh...flood! Have a good night!" But we all know the story. The rain finally came, and Noah's purpose was revealed. Good thing he kept building.

Like Noah, are you waiting for God to storm into action? Trying to get into that college? Get that new job? Good, but hammer while you wait. You never know, that first drop of rain just might be today.

--J.P.

ARE YOU ARMY STRONG?

It's unquestionably one of the best ad campaigns the armed forces have ever rolled out. The concept of "Army Strong," illustrated by visions of hard-charging, camouflaged men and women in peak physical condition, doing what they can to keep our nation safe at home and abroad. Those hesitant to head down to the nearest recruiting station, no matter how patriotic, are sometimes deterred by the expectation of countless push-ups and sit-ups and 10-mile hikes. But today's Army is much different.

In the throes of a complete physical fitness makeover, soldiers are instituting new and more dynamic movements into their programming to prepare them for battle. Ever wonder how you'd stack up? Now you find out what it's like to be Army Strong.

Click here to find out what today's soldiers are expected to be good at and just how these standards transfer onto the battlefield.

Source: CNN

>> Do you know a homeland defender? If you know a cop, firefighter, National Guardsman, soldier, airman, sailor or guardian, please let them know about our forum dedicated specifically to them and what sacrifices they make to keep health a priority in their professions.

HOMELAND DEFENDERS FORUM - CLICK HERE

THERE WILL BE DELAYS

March 16, 2011Read: Matthew 17

"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'" --Matthew 17:19.

Thinking about 2011 goals is pretty exciting (and daunting). My heart skips a beat when I think of some of the big mountains my little legs want to climb. Dreams are awesome, aren't they? It's like saying, "That one, God. Yes! Let's conquer that!" And with a little faith, we chase them.

Well, just as soon as we began our road trip home the other day, I saw a sign: DELAYS AHEAD. I didn't give it much thought. A few miles later: EXPECT DELAYS. I looked at my watch. "So far so good," I reasoned. So I shrugged, turned up the radio and set my cruise control. But sure enough the next sign literally read: EXPECT EXTREME DELAYS SOON. They weren't kidding about the "extreme" or "soon" parts. In fact, I knew it was gonna be bad when I saw cars pulling off the highway by any means possible to find a short cut. Our quick five-hour trip had quickly become eight.

You know, as we begin to think about, pray for and jot down faith and fitness goals for the upcoming year, we can expect delays. Even though we might hit the new year at full speed, the chances of a few roadblocks are high. But let's not quit or lose heart. Whatever the next bend brings, the good Lord will get us through. So let's stay on the right road and keep the faith in drive.

--J.P.

Application: As we approach a new season, have you hit any roadblocks or delays on your toward your goals? How's your bible study and prayer time? What about your eating habits and exercise routines? It is time to recalibrate?

FITTER WITH FIDO

If you're a dog owner, you're already at a huge advantage in your quest for a slimmer physique. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that 61% of dog owners walked their dog for at least 10 minutes at a time, while 27% took the family pet out walking 150 minutes per week or more. The odds of getting 150 minutes of walking per week -- a baseline level of fitness -- were 34% higher for dog walkers compared to non-dog owners and the odds of doing any leisure time physical activity were an astounding 69% higher. The most staggering statistic, perhaps, was the fact that 39% of the respondents in the study didn't walk their dogs at all!  Even our canines are suffering from our ambivalence to exercise.