psalm 139

What the Maker Knew

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

When God the Creator put the finishing touches on our unique souls, He knew. He knew we'd scrape our shins, disobey parents and upset friends. He knew our kids would reject us, enemies would haunt us and our memory would fail us; and all before losing life's final war with pain. He knew, but that didn't stop Him.

He proceeded to count hairs on heads then fingers and toes. He added color to eyes, dimples on chins and swivels to hips. Why didn't He stop? He knew that what life rejects, Christ accepts. Someday in Heaven, you and I will see just what became of us the day we finally believed what the Maker already knew.

--Jimmy Peña

In Matthew West's song, "Wonderfully Made" he sings: "You don't have to wonder, you are wonderfully made. Perfectly beautiful in every way. Wonderfully, wonderfully, made. You're anything but typical, it's true. They ain't seen anybody quite like you. God never makes a mistake. You are wonderfully, wonderfully made."

How should the fact that God -- The Maker -- says we're wonderful help us through our day? How should that mold and shape our health and fitness?

GREEN POWER: Kale & Cilantro

Harness the power (and flavor) of kale and cilantro

It's time to get your greens -- or more of 'em, as it were. By finding new ways to get kale and cilantro into your nutrition plan, either by adding them to salads and casseroles, you can get much needed immune help and vital nutrients.

>> Click here for more.

Total Loss

"For you formed my inward parts. My frame was not hidden from you." --Psalm 139:13, 15

Read: Psalm 139

As a little boy, I spent many a summer day sweeping floors and washing cars at my dad's body shop. I felt right at home amidst the bondo dust and paint fumes -- even though I could often be found asleep in dad's office. But while I didn't pursue the family business, little did I know that the body shop was a great place to learn about grace.

Each day, customers would come in to either pick up their cars or schedule a drop off, but then there were those who came in just for an estimate. They'd wrecked their car or truck, and all they wanted to know was what it would it take to make it good as new. And whether the damage was their own fault or caused by someone else, sometimes dad would have to tell them it was totaled; their car wasn't worth anything. A total loss meant the insurance company wouldn't touch it, and they'd have to pay for it all by themselves.

We've all wrecked our lives in one way or another, be it with work, a relationship or our health. Thankfully, a total loss is no match for the cross. What the world gives no value, He gives grace.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Abs

With Thanksgiving a few days away, we thought we'd encourage a good midsection training session to begin the week off right! Got 15 minutes? Try this at-home abdominal blitz before you hit the road. Do each exercise to failure before moving on to the next without resting in between. Take a one minute rest only after all the exercises have been performed.

Reverse Crunch Standard Crunch Double Crunch Plank --Rest and repeat as many times in 15 minutes

BONUS! - Click here for exercise descriptions and demonstration videos

>> We start the workout with the reverse crunch which targets the lower abs, since for many of us, the lower abs are our weakest part of the midsection. However, because we're working with just bodyweight, feel free to mix the order up as you see fit. And if you try this workout along with other bodyparts, make sure to do this after your other bodypart moves. Reason being, you want your abs/core fresh to stabilize your body throughout a typical workout. Then you can move on to work your abs and train to fatigue.

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Priceless

"You are not your own." --1 Corinthians 6:19

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Sitting in my Dad's garage is his workmanship. Car buffs will be pleased to know that my Dad piddles on a 1934 Ford Coupe every weekend. As a matter of fact, he's been tinkering with it for as long as I can remember. There's not a corner of that car Dad doesn't know. He's taken it apart and put it back together his entire life. How is that? Well, that coupe was his very first car; given to him by Granddaddy when Dad was only 12 years old. Yep, he still has it. Well, about 42 years ago, Dad sold it for a few hundred dollars to help pay the doctor bills when my brother was born. But years later, Dad traveled half-way across the country, spending much more than what he sold it for, and bought it back.

Sitting in front of your computer is God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), completely unique (Galatians 5:26), knit together in the womb (Psalm 139), and made in God's own image (Genesis 1:26). Is there any wonder why the bible says that we should honor Him with our bodies? After all, his Son went from Heaven to earth and bought us at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). So go ahead, tinker a little. Piddle a bit. Enjoy working on something with the Lord He designed and gave to you.

(You know, I don't think Dad will ever finish that old car. Not because he can't, but because I think he simply enjoys working on something Granddaddy first gave him, and they worked on together.)

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT GETS MENTION ON "KATIE"

Tyler Perry comes back to the big screen this weekend, this time taking on the role of Alex Cross, which was last occupied by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Appearing today on Katie Couric's couch, Perry talked about his prep -- both on set and in the gym -- for this highly anticipated action-suspense film based on the books by James Patterson. About 45 seconds into the clip below, he mentions a key part of his training program that helped him shed 30 pounds for his role as Cross and his recent cover of Men's Health. To start on your own Perry-like physical and spiritual journey, click here.

Priceless

"You are not your own." --1 Corinthians 6:19

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Sitting in my Dad's garage is his workmanship. Car buffs will be pleased to know that my Dad piddles on a 1934 Ford Coupe every weekend. As a matter of fact, he's been tinkering with it for as long as I can remember. There's not a corner of that car Dad doesn't know. He's taken it apart and put it back together his entire life. How is that? Well, that coupe was his very first car; given to him by Granddaddy when Dad was only 12 years old. Yep, he still has it. Well, about 42 years ago, Dad sold it for a few hundred dollars to help pay the doctor bills when my brother was born. But years later, Dad traveled half-way across the country, spending much more than what he sold it for, and bought it back.

Sitting in front of your computer is God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), completely unique (Galatians 5:26), knit together in the womb (Psalm 139), and made in God's own image (Genesis 1:26). Is there any wonder why the bible says that we should honor Him with our bodies? After all, his Son went from Heaven to earth and bought us at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). So go ahead, tinker a little. Piddle a bit. Enjoy working on something with the Lord He designed and gave to you.

(You know, I don't think Dad will ever finish that old car. Not because he can't, but because I think he simply enjoys working on something Granddaddy first gave him, and they worked on together.)

--Jimmy Peña

EXCLUSIVE: THOMAS NELSON RELEASES PRAYFIT DVD NO. 2 PrayFit's 33-Day Body Toning System available now through world's largest Christian publisher

PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System (Lionsgate) is a more advanced system that toggles between targeted exercises that build lean muscle and high-intensity cardio to blast through body fat. By repeating these intervals, you’ll see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. This DVD will help you improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith. This DVD incorporates toning exercises with “PrayFit Minutes” – encouraging, weekly devotionals aimed at helping you become healthy in body and strong in Spirit.

“If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won’t believe our newest edition,” says Jimmy Pena. “Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!”

>> For other PrayFit products to help boost your faith and fitness, click here.

>> Interested in having PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña come to speak at your church? Write us today for more info!

Worthy of a Frame

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

Where do you keep your pictures? I’m not talking about fun, random, cell phone snaps or Facebook profile images. I’m talking about the special ones –- those worthy of a frame. That’s where we need to start…the mantle of your heart.

You know, we’ve all heard the statement that if God had a mantle, your picture would be on it. And while I love knowing that, I wonder what you and I would actually look like? At first, that thought might sound a bit weird, awkward or even irrelevant. I suppose it would be if we were talking about the body, but God sees our hearts. And like we’ve said many times, life is not about the body, and our bodies -- these frames -- will most certainly not last heaven.

But if anyone knows our bodies, what they’re capable of, and most importantly, how healthy they were intended to be on earth, it’s Him. So I guess you could say, we’re just pictures of grace; souls He saw worthy...of a frame.

--Jimmy Peña

QUESTION: God loves our souls so much he framed them with bodies. How does knowing that change the way you view the importance of health? Please give us your comments below and please share this with your Facebook and Twitter communities.

DID YOU KNOW? Obesity is threatening national security, according to a new study, because one in four young adults is too overweight to join the military. In some states, as many as 44 percent of young adults, age 18-24, are obese and unfit to serve and protect.

Source: Mission: Readiness

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What Do You See, Lord?

"You saw me before I was born." --Psalm 139:16

Read: Psalm 139

Awaiting my turn on a recent TV broadcast, I sat in the green room watching the first hour's guest. A woman -- maybe in her late 50's -- was there sharing her fundraising efforts for the homeless and orphaned. Her reply to the host's last question caught my attention. He asked her why she thought God placed this burden on her heart. Through a flood of tears she said, "I just think God saw something in me I never could have seen for myself."

Wow. It felt like she was accepting an award; honored beyond words. Believe me folks, a child is going to find a home, a meal, or both because of this woman. Her words resonated in my head (and heart) as I took my place on the couch. It was my turn. But honestly, I don't remember the host's first question. I struggled to concentrate. "We're back in 5, 4, 3, 2..."

Sarah, David, Mary Magdalene, Peter. To the rest of the world, outcasts and misfits. Too little, too late. But that's not what God saw.

Is this your prayer? Mine too:

"What do you see Lord? What you can see means more to me than what I can't. So show me. My back is strong. My shoulders are steady. I don't want to be empty-handed. Give me the burden that you see me carrying."

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What has God called you to do? What burden has He laid on your heart? What can we help you pray about today?

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You, He Knitted

"You knit me together in my mother’s womb." --Psalm 139:13

Read: Psalm 139

God spoke, and there was light. He breathed the stars in space and put the moon in place. But you? You, He knitted. Imagine, the God who filled the oceans with water made your eyes to blink. After spraying the cosmos with trillions of galaxies, He gave you goosebumps. (And then you did the same to Him.)

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build, Burn

Try the following 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. Walk in place with high knees - 1 min. Jog in place - 1 min. Jumping jacks - 1 min. Jog with high knees - 1 min. Rest 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Straight-arm plank - 30 sec. Standard plank - 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Rest 30 sec.

Repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times. Perform this workout up to three times per week, allowing 24-48 hours between sessions. For your push-ups, regardless of what type you are doing, count your reps and strive to increase that number from workout to workout.

DVD: Looking for a new program to speed your gains along in 2012? Try the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD by Lionsgate.

YOU, HE KNITTED

September 12, 2011Read: Psalm 139

“You knit me together in my mother’s womb. --Psalm 139:13

God spoke, and there was light. He breathed the stars in space and put the moon in place. But you? You, He knitted. Imagine, the God who filled the oceans with water made your eyes to blink. After spraying the cosmos with trillions of galaxies, He gave you goosebumps. (And then you did the same to Him.)

-J.P.

Please join us this week as we look at the miracle of our bodies as His prized creation, and how His temple on earth will outshine the stars.

WORKOUT of the WEEK

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.

Walk in place with high knees - 1 min. Jog in place - 1 min. Jumping jacks - 1 min. Jog with high knees - 1 min. Rest 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. (modify per your abilities) Straight-arm plank - 30 sec. Standard plank for - 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. (modify per your abilities) Rest 30 sec.

Repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times. Perform this workout up to three times per week, allowing 24-48 hours between sessions. For your push-ups, regardless of what type you are doing, count your reps and strive to increase that number from workout to workout.

WHAT'S NEW/HOT AT THE PRAYFIT FORUMS:

>> Jobs, heartache, stress, joy, praise -- offer your prayers for the community here

>> New member seeks online weight loss accountability partner

 

I'LL DRIVE

August 25, 2011Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See, to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, since He lives inside our hearts, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

Q&A: FRUIT'S FINAL DESTINATION A healthy solution for overripe produce

Q: I often end up with a lot of fruit going bad around my house. It's not because I don't eat it -- it's because I don't eat it fast enough. Should I just buy less?

A: "A blender or food processor is a great destination for surplus fruit or fruit that is overripe but not yet spoiled," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. "Many people tell me that they hesitate to buy too much fresh produce because they cannot use it quickly enough before it goes bad, but you can make a delicious, healthy smoothie out of those surplus berries or those bananas that are getting soft."

Here's Miller's fix: "Combine one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups of fruit, a few ice cubes, and blend to the consistency you desire. You may freeze the fruit first and choose to omit the ice. Boost the nutrients in your drink by adding 1-2 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ or flaxseeds, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves lend flavor as well."

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

>> "PRAYER" FIT: Stop by the prayer requests forum to share issues that are heavy on your heart, or simply to read up and pray for others.

 

 

I'LL DRIVE

March 3, 2011Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See, to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

DAIRY-FREE HEALTH A look at five alternatives to your traditional glass of milk

Whether it’s because of allergies or other personal or dietary reasons, many folks choose to avoid cow’s milk. For a while, soy was the only option at many stores – not anymore! We tested five types of milk alternatives for taste and nutrition.

The Criteria

For our taste tests, we typically sample the same product from various brand names, like peanut butter or nonfat vanilla yogurt. Since the most popular cow’s milk alternatives are made from very different ingredients, we are testing the five most common: rice, hemp, almond, coconut and soy. Each beverage was ranked using our 5-point scale (5 being the highest) and judged based on taste and nutrition information. Since many of the brands offer a variety of options like low fat, vanilla flavored and unsweetened, we chose the “original” version of each brand. We found that all were best served (very) chilled.

Rice Dream Organic Rice Drink Rating: 4.5 Cost: $1.99 (per quart) Nutrition Info per 8 fluid-ounces: 120 calories; 2.5 grams fat; 1 gram protein

Our Take: An overall great option if you’re used to skim milk. It’s surprisingly sweet even though it contains no added sweeteners. A watery consistency (just like skim milk) with some fat added from organic vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower and canola). It’s also very low in protein but fortified with calcium and vitamin D in similar amounts as cow’s milk.

Recommended Uses: Drinking plain or over cold cereal. You can also cook with it – there was a yummy-looking recipe for polenta on the box.

Pacific Hemp Milk Rating: 2 Cost: $3.99 (per quart)

Nutrition Info per 8 fluid-ounces: 140 calories; 5 grams fat; 3 grams protein

Our Take: We weren’t fans of this dairy-free option. It was thick and chalky with a sour, nutty aftertaste. It was sweetened with brown rice syrup and was fortified with 50 percent of the daily recommended amounts of calcium as well as hefty doses of vitamins D and B12. It was the most expensive and among the highest in fat, though the fat came mostly from the heart-healthy polyunsaturated kind.

Recommended Use: Smoothies

Pacific Organic Almond Milk Rating: 4.5 Cost: $1.69 (per quart)

Nutrition Info per 8 fluid-ounces: 60 calories; 2.5 grams fat; 1 gram protein

Our Take: A much more pleasing nutty flavor than the hemp milk with an easily drinkable consistency. It does have a strong almond flavor, which is fine if you like almonds. It was sweetened with evaporated cane juice and fortified with riboflavin, and vitamins A and D, but no calcium.

Recommended Uses: Chocolate milk, over whole-grain cereal, soups, pancake batter

So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Rating: 4 Cost: $2.00 (per quart)

Nutrition Info per 8 fluid-ounces: 80 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram protein

Our Take: Thick (almost too thick) and creamy with a mild sweetness from added dried cane syrup. There was really no noticeable coconut flavor, but since it’s made from the fruit, most of the 5 grams of fat per serving comes from the less healthy saturated kind. Added nutrients included calcium and vitamins A, D and B12.

Recommended Uses: In coffee or tea, smoothies, or frozen into ice cream and popsicles

EdenSoy Extra Organic Soymilk Rating: 4 Cost: $2.99

Nutrition Info per 8 fluid-ounces: 130 calories, 4 grams fat;, 11 grams protein

Our Take: Like all soy milk, this had a distinctive flavor and slight aftertaste. It did score some points for having far more protein than any of the others, but it did contain some added sweetener. Fortified nutrients included calcium and vitamins E, D, B-12 and beta-carotene.

Recommended Uses: Great for baking due to its high protein content – these banana muffins are proof.

TELL US: What’s your favorite variety of dairy-free milk? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

>> SHOP: Have you picked up any PrayFit gear yet? Browse our online store for shirts, hats, polos and wristbands to show your support for faith and fitness, and be sure to send us pics -- we will post here and on Facebook!

I'LL DRIVE

December 8, 2010Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: ORANGE-CHOCOLATE COOKIES

That's right, it's time for some dessert. Being healthier, after all, isn't about painful deprivation as much as it is about better choices. So if you are moving your body regularly, you shouldn't feel guilty about occasionally giving in to your sweet tooth. But if you are being calorie-conscious, this can be a bit more agonizing unless you know how to indulge without going overboard. That's where PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, comes in.

"My mother-in-law discovered this recipe last year in a magazine, and these cookies became an instant family favorite," she says. "The combination of orange and chocolate makes for a light but decadent cookie. At 90 calories each, you can have one (or two) and not feel guilty about dessert."

Orange-Chocolate Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup orange marmalade 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 tablespoon shortening

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk and orange peel. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Press your thumb into center and fill with 1/4 teaspoon orange marmalade.

Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets in a 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate mixture. Place cookies on rack to set.

Calories: 89 Fat: 5.5 grams Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams Protein: 1 gram Carbohydrate: 11 grams Sodium: 2 milligrams Cholesterol: 15 milligrams Fiber: 0 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition. You can also visit her blog for more recipes at http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/.

>> PLUS! 3 ways to start losing bodyfat...today