sin

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.

The Hearing Impaired

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would be without sin. But since you say 'We see', your sin remains." --John 9:41

Read: John 9

"Can you hear my voice?" her Dad asked her. "My voice" he repeated. You may have seen the story yesterday or perhaps you've seen similar videos whereby, through a procedure, people either see or hear their loved ones for the first time. Well, this particular moment made this sentimental fool a mess. Watching Amy Barber hear her family for the first time was enough to make even the Tin Man's heart beat. But it's what Amy said that caused mine to stop. Looking at her dad, she answered his question by saying, "I have to focus, because now I hear everything." Only after she got her hearing did she struggle to hear her dad.

Wow. I'm sure many of you could finish today's entry, but in one deaf sentence, Amy reminds us that we are hearing impaired. We have so much going on, so many voices, so many sounds and distractions coming from all sorts of directions that it's tough to hear Him. Our "hearing" impairs us. And it's because our ears work that we have to focus.

So as we hit the day's agenda, amid the noise that makes its way into our lives, let's finish the exchange as our sweet Father asks: "Can you hear my voice? My voice?"

Actually, I think I will let you finish this one...

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What areas of life do you need to tune out in order to hear Him?

AWARD NEWS: This Friday, PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña will be honored by his alma mater, UT Tyler, as one of this year's distinguished alumni. Read the story here.

WILLFUL DESTRUCTION A few eye-opening facts about the most troubling health problem in America

--The annual healthcare costs of obesity in this country are $147 billion a year. This could rise to as much as $344 billion by 2018, according to one major study.

--Obesity has become one of the most expensive health problems in America today, surpassing smoking, according to a study in Health Affairs.

--Two-thirds of Americans are overweight although 85% of Americans characterize their lifestyle as somewhat/very healthy.

--Obese employee sick days total approximately 39 million workdays and 63 million doctor visits yearly.

--12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight.

--Nearly a third of the children in this country are overweight and some experts believe up to one third of children will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

--For the first time in the history of our nation, some medical experts warn that this younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents as a direct result of the obesity epidemic.

Source: CNBC's "One Nation, Overweight"

Uphill Battles

"Carry each other's burdens." --Galatians 6:2

Read: Galatians 6

>> AUDIO: Click here to listen to this entry, as read by Jimmy Peña. [audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Uphill+Battles.mp3]

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Simon did. Simon of Cyrene was of course the man who helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill toward Calvary. In one moment, a bystander. The next, a cross bearer. He did literally what you and I are called to do figuratively. Little did he know the example he was setting. I wonder if he knew his sin would soon be nailed to the tree he carried.

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Jesus did. Yet Jesus knew that what He faced, He had to face alone. Nobody on earth, above or below, could take His place as He took ours. But the thought of you and me facing our days without hope was enough to kill Him. The weight of the cross and our helplessness were more than He could bear.

Simon, Jesus. Two men, one cross and an uphill battle.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build & Burn Getting leaner isn't just about burning more calories. How much weight you can lose is determined in large part by how much muscle you are able to build or maintain. The best body-changing type of workout helps you to use up calories while also challenging your muscles to rise to the occasion. This workout does just that, working all of your major muscles groups with a quick, at-home, equipment-minimal scheme that's sure to leave you better for the effort.

>> Click here for the workout! For additional exercise tips and routines, visit our fitness page.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

If You're Thirsty

"But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again." --John 4:14

Read: John 4

Over the long weekend, Loretta and I had the chance to explore some new trails. Just minutes from our condo are some of the most amazing hills in the country. One path in particular is an awesome nine-mile trek to the ocean. So with a new lease on life and health, I set out to lead my wife and our chocolate lab Ms. Josey along this vast expanse. Backpack? Check. Map? Sort of. Clue? Um...no.

Seven miles later, Josey was limping, I was hungry and Loretta was worried. How much farther? Must those birds fly in circles? Fortunately however, in the distance I could see a guy who looked like he knew where I was going. As he approached us on his all-terrain bike, I asked him how long until we reached the water. Turns out the trail I was on would only get me so far. So I thanked him, and he rode off. Wouldn't you know it? Two minutes later he rode up beside us again and asked, "I have water if you're thirsty." I looked at Loretta with a grin as I declined his kind gesture. (She knew I had just mentally written this entry.)

The story surrounding our verse is about a woman who met Jesus at the well. She was looking for one kind of water but her Savior knew she needed another. Her life was in shambles and she was thirsty. Had she continued along the path she was on, she'd be lost forever. But the bible says Jesus told her of her sin, and that if she drank living water, she'd never thirst again.

Folks, just like water is critical for our physical thirst, the thirst of the spirit is unquenchable without Jesus. We can't lift enough weights, run enough miles or drop enough pounds to fulfill our direst need. That's why we never place too much emphasis on the physical. Like her well, the mirror will never quench you of anything, no matter how many times you look. So today, go to the well. If it's the first time -- or the first time in a long time -- He has water if you're thirsty.

--Jimmy Peña

WATER: HYDRATE TO GET LEAN

Speaking of water, how much water did you drink yesterday? For most of you, the answer will fall under the category "not enough." Don't underestimate the wet stuff? It's not just good for keeping you hydrated. Water may be the most powerful, affordable fat-fighting ally you have.

>> Click here for the full story!

ALSO: PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System continues to do well on Amazon's list of hot new releases in faith! We're so humbled at your support and overjoyed at the reviews and reports we are getting on how this at-home workout is blessing you, your friends and your family! Haven't gotten yours yet? Click here to pick one up!

I Am One Of Them

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Green Herb Hummus

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

>> RECIPE - VIDEO

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

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

Runners On Your Mark

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." --Hebrews 12:1

Read: Hebrews 12

Even though we were in a different city with an unfamiliar course, I found my favorite and familiar spot, the finish line. See, long before the runners ever cross the tape and well before the crowds, you can always find me there early to survey the land, to test the angles and find the best views. So just before sunrise, I did my thing, because I didn't want to miss my babe complete a test that began 16 weeks earlier.

Sure, while the official clock started that early morning, anyone who's ever run a marathon knows the big race is run in the small, unseen moments of preparation. Like the other runners on the mark, Loretta started that clock when she accepted the invitation. Everything she did after that was a direct reflection of that commitment. Like I've said before, it's easy to see God in a marathon.

So with my stake claimed and seeing as she wasn't due for a few hours, I got comfortable. And over the next few days, I'll share some of the notes I scribbled as I hunkered down with my heart's eyes open. I hope you'll join us as the runners come in.

--Jimmy Peña

RUN LONGER BY RUNNING FASTER Think the only way to become a better distance runner is to run for distance? Think again. While the importance of event-specific training can not be marginalized, there is a growing body of research to suggest that interval training may have value as well.

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario (London) found that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week (with 3-4 minutes of rest between sprints) burned twice as much fat as those who jogged for 30-60 minutes at a steady pace. Both groups gained an average of 1% lean mass. But what’s even more interesting is that the endurance markers — time trials in 2000-meter run and VO2 max performance — were similar with both groups.

So while intervals are highly touted for their ability to burn fat, they are also a solid option for decreasing your times on your long runs. Intervals boost your heart’s stroke volume, or total blood pumped per beat. That means longer times to fatigue, which is critical for distance runners. So don’t feel guilty if you can’t make it out for your five-miler today — 15 minutes worth of high-intensity intervals will provide you with plenty of benefits to take on your next run.

>> BRING THIS MESSAGE TO YOUR CHURCH...

For more info, write us at info@prayfit.com.

A Rescue Mission

"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." --Hebrews 9:22

Read: Hebrews 9

Last year a group of American troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, were killed in Afghanistan. According to news reports, the troops on the ground requested additional forces, at which time a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched, carrying members of the U.S. special operations command. They died on a rescue mission.

The next day I watched an interview with the family of Aaron Vaughn, one of the SEALs killed in the crash. Of Aaron, his mom said: "Everything he did was secret, and it just feels really strange right now, that only in his death can we celebrate who he was in his life." Known as a devout follower of Christ, Aaron loved America, and there was nothing else he would rather do with his life.

At PrayFit, we honor Aaron Vaughn and all of those with him. We can't think of a more appropriate way to remember Aaron's ultimate sacrifice than to recall what Jesus did for us on Calvary. He loved us, and there was nothing else He would rather do with His life. He became the ultimate sacrifice, and died on a rescue mission.

--Jimmy Peña

IN MEMORIAM We are so grateful for those who serve in the military -- those who build their lives around defending those they will never meet, for a cause they believe in without compromise. If someone you know or love is serving in the armed forces, or if you have lost someone who wore the uniform, we salute them.

Two Men, One Cross

"Carry each other's burdens." --Galatians 6:2

Read: Galatians 6

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Simon did. Simon of Cyrene was of course the man who helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill toward Calvary. In one moment, a bystander. The next, a cross bearer. He did literally what you and I are called to do figuratively. Little did he know the example he was setting. I wonder if he knew his sin would soon be nailed to the tree he carried.

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Jesus did. Yet Jesus knew that what He faced, He had to face alone. Nobody on earth, above or below, could take His place as He took ours. The thought of you and me facing our days without hope was enough to kill Him. The weight of the cross and our helplessness were more than He could bear.

Simon and Jesus. Two men, one cross and an uphill battle.

--Jimmy Peña

IMAGINE: It took both Simon and Jesus to get our cross up the hill. All our debts, cancelled. Satan's threats, cancelled. Imagine having to deal with those alone. What would you say to Simon for helping Jesus with your cross?

COMMUNITY COUNTS Here's what people are saying on the PrayFit forums. Let your experiences bless others! PrayFit book versus PrayFit DVD - How are the two related?

John's Challenge 33/33 - Following a PrayFit newbie's journey

Any servicemen or servicewomen on here? - Bringing our homeland defenders into our forums

The Prayfit workout question - Giving sound advice and inspiration to a motivated member

Post-exercise headache - What's normal? What's the fix?

>> Not yet a member of the PrayFit forums? Register by clicking here.

Rescue. Shelter.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." --2 Corinthians 5:21

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

In case you missed this story, former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey went undercover last week as a homeless man. He was cold, hungry and plagued with hip problems in the middle of the night. Governor Codey noted that he thought the best way to relate to the homeless was to become homeless himself. In the end, he was rejected by 22 shelters. Imagine...a former governor leaving his mansion to spend a night among the paupers.

Isn't it easy to think of Jesus right about now? Sure it is. Although, Jesus didn't just stay the night did He? He could have, but He didn't. No, He spent a lifetime here. And because He did, we can relate to Him in so many ways. Are you ignored at work? He understands. Rejected by neighbors? So was He. Hurting physically? Jesus knows your pain. But Jesus did more than dress up like us. Note the verse: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us..." See, He does more than relate. He rescues.

Divine irony. He became homeless...so we could follow Him home.

--Jimmy Peña

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: UPRIGHT ROW

One of the key exercises in yesterday's workout of the week was the dumbbell upright row. This multi-joint movement effectively targets your middle deltoid head but it also engages your trapezius, rear delts and albeit to a much lesser degree your forearms and biceps. Because so many muscle groups are involved in this movement, you are able to use significantly more weight than you would be on isolation moves in the routine such as lateral raises. For an exercise demonstration and a deeper analysis of the physiology, click here.

>> COFFEE DRINKERS REJOICE: People give you grief for your insistence on a tall cup of java before you can chat in the morning? Tell them you're enhancing your DNA with each sip. Get the full story on coffee's new benefits by clicking here.

He Remembers

"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." --Hebrews 8:12

A documentary recently left me drenched in a flood of tears. Hosted by Maria Shriver, the short movie was a touching look at Alzheimer's, and the devastating effects the disease has on the sufferer as well as the family. From grandchildren, to children, to spouses, the idea of forgetting and being forgotten is nothing short of a nightmare. As the credits rolled, I found myself calling my wife and mother. Please don't forget I love you, was the only thought I had as I dialed.

And then I found myself thinking of the Lord. Friends, aren't we so glad He remembers? Affectionally, He remembers when He made us. Faithfully, He remembers when we first spoke His name, and thankfully He remembers ours. The only thing He doesn't remember is our sin.

That -- gracefully -- He remembers to forget.

--Jimmy Peña

SLEEP & ALZHEIMER'S New research reveals startling risk of being underslept

How well you sleep at night may be an indicator of you risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. A new study out of the American Academy of Neurology showed that those who spent less than 85% of the time in bed asleep were more likely to have Alzheimer’s. While it’s important to note that about half of the subjects had Alzheimer’s somewhere in their family tree, the risk remains alarming.

Need more motivation to get your z's? Disrupted sleep can interfere with muscle recovery and the regulation of hormones that are critical for muscle-building, fat-burning and metabolism. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and to keep your fitness goals on track.

>> For the full story from Medical News Today, click here.

RATE OF FAILURE

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"— Galatians 2:21

Much is made of the failure rate in baseball.  A successful hitter, it is said, fails to get a hit seven out of every 10 trips to the plate. Despite this otherwise abysmal statistic, those who perform up to such a strict standard are held in high regard. The familiar sound of bat meeting ball is met by a chorus of applause, the hitter greeted by high fives and offered hands of affirmation by teammates upon his return to the dugout. The spoils of a job well done.

In our walks with God, the only measure of success -- the perfection of Christ -- makes failure a certainty. More often than not, despite our best efforts, we will swing and miss at opportunities to glorify God in how we live, work and play. Still, despite no quantifiable measure of achievement and no earthly rewards to be won, we test ourselves, training for a contest in which the outcome has already been determined. Because we know that someday, no matter our rate of failure, we too will be greeted -- not by the roar of the crowd but by choirs of angels. The spoils of a life redeemed by grace.

--Eric Velazquez

LIFE AND TIMES OF AN AGING ATHLETE What does science have to say about your ability to train into your 40s?

Aching backs, ailing knees and rapidly-declining energy levels. Once you hit your 40s, these may be a few of your least favorite things, perhaps even to the point of discouragement. Why train if I can't do it the way I did 20 years ago? Well, science has plenty to say about that. According to Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," some of your best years may be ahead of you yet.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida (Orlando) placed untrained men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 on a 12-week periodized, twice-per-week, strength-training program for their non-dominant arm (the opposite arm served as a control). All three groups gained about 20% more muscle on their arms. The only benefit of being younger was the ability to gain slightly more one-rep max strength on the preacher curl. The older the subjects were, the more strength and muscle size they had when they started the 12-week program. Typically, the more strength you have, the less strength you can gain.

"There really is no difference in the ability to gain muscle size as you age, at least up to 40 years old," Stoppani says. "You may find it tougher to increase one-rep strength but you are likely stronger at the beginning of a program than younger trainers are. It really is never too late to start lifting weights."

>> Why not get a head start on banking some of that strength now? Try this at-home bodyweight program for starters, or visit JimStoppani.com for detailed, member-exclusive workout plans.

HE UNDERSTANDS

November 18, 2011 Read: Hebrews 12

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -- Hebrews 12:1

I think God understands the marathon. Many people will tell you that a marathon is all about the journey, the memories. Well, yes and no. While the memories have their moments, what awaits us at the end is really what it's all about. I mean, I loved the music at mile 12, but I didn't hang around for an entire song. It played, not so much that I would enjoy, but more so that I would endure.

When I began the race, I had a running partner as well as a dedicated pacer (the pacer's name was Paul, by the way.) But as you learned this week, a little over midway through the race, my body started to fail me. And when the partner and pacer ran ahead, I had to slow down. But had that not happened, I would have missed the blind man with his guide, and the woman in the wheelchair with no legs. And yes, I would have missed the two men who led me my last few miles of the race. Two men wearing identical shirts; bright yellow jerseys with black letters. Unmistakable to me. Not so much for the color combo, but for the words on their backs. On one shirt, "Father", and on the other, "Son". Oddly enough, the only comfort I could muster at the time was written on the back of two strangers.

The journey is one thing. But while our bodies fail us, friends leave us, and pacers lose us, the only real comfort is who we follow to the finish. I think God understands the marathon.

P.S. At dinner that night, I watched a lady limping her way through a restaurant. As she passed our table, I said, "Congratulations". Surprised, she thanked me. Hmm. You can always tell the runners. You can see it in their walk.

--Jimmy Pena

WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> FOREVER ROAD: Each step is worth it when we remember who awaits us in the end

>> WHATEVER YOU DO: No matter how painful the pace, keep going

>> TRACKING NUMBERS: Following the steps of the one who's already won the race

>> TIRED OF RUNNING: His favorite place to run is to our rescue

Fitness

>> RUNNER'S RESOURCES: Our favorite digital haunts for running advice

>> SPEED TRICK: A surprising benefit of running sprint intervals

>> MASS FRUIT: How apples contribute to greater muscle gain

>> RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy pulled pork

TIRED OF RUNNING

November 17, 2011Read: Psalm 103

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

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy Pulled Pork

Serves: 6

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

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

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

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

Bonus: Chipotle Pepper Puree 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo

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

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

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

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

 

NO OTHER WORD FOR GRACE

October 27, 2011Read: Romans 6

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our lord." --Romans 6:23

Before high-tech ventilation systems, coal miners used to send a caged canary down into the mine to help detect dangerous and lethal fumes. As long as the canary kept singing, the coast was clear. Silence however meant danger and the nearest way out.

We don't have canaries leading us each day, but we do have the Holy Spirit. We hear His warning and sense his guidance. It's when we disregard Him that we end up in the dark, in deep trouble or in dire need of an exit.

But thankfully, God never lets go of us. Our fall will never exceed His grasp. Like Mom used to sing, "There's no other word for grace, but amazing."

Lord, we love you. Thank you for your daily, amazing grace. And thank you for your Spirit that leads us and guides us. Where would we be without you? Amen.

--J.P.

P.S Lord, be with my mom right now. Please heal her; protect her. Whisper to her that I love her. Amen. And if you want us and others to pray specifically for your mom, just let us know in the comments below. Just say, "My Mom" and we will.

EGGS FOR MUSCLE How did the incredible egg earn its nickname?

Many of you may think that eggs are just a simple breakfast food — something that’s been on your plate every morning since you can remember. But it is so much more, particularly if you’re looking to gain muscle, says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days”(Regal Books). Researchers found that subjects who ate three whole eggs per day gained twice as much muscle in 12 weeks as those who only had one egg per day.

EGG FACTS: One whole egg contains 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fat. But don’t worry — about 80% of that fat is monounsaturated and saturated fat, which actually aids in the muscle-building process.

Source: www.jimstoppani.com

 

OPEN HOUSE

August, 11, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so...up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for our heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.

--J.P.

FUEL AND FAT

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

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

HE VOTED: GRACE

August 2, 2011 Read: Isaiah 53

"...by his wounds we are healed." --Isaiah 53:5

I can't say I know all there is to know about politics, but the debt ceiling debate has been tough to escape. Turn the channel, pick up a newspaper or surf the web and there it is. And regardless of what side you're on, yesterday's vote was an emotional one; not so much for the outcome that saves the country from default, but because of who showed up for the vote. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords appeared on the house floor for the first time since being critically wounded in January. Her appearance brought the house down. Fellow lawmakers described the scene as she raised her hand to vote "stunning" and "heroic." Giffords said she just had to be there for the vote. In her words, "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."

Please forgive the comparison, but you and I have a debt problem too. A debt no amount of good deeds, good thoughts, health, money, or otherwise could ever pay. Tally up the votes of every person of Adam's race, every voice that has ever spoken, and we wouldn't have enough yays for a victory.

But Jesus showed up to cast the only vote that counted; wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. He showed up, raised both hands and voted...grace.

--J.P.

WHAT'S IN A GRAIN?

One of the best and easiest things you can do to start cleaning up your diet is to make an easy switch. Whenever there's an option, elect to eat whole grain products. These healthier choices slow digestion, helping you to avoid the types of spikes in blood sugar and insulin that can leave your body drained and in a fat-storing mode.  But according to PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD, there's much more to know about this wonder food.

"When selecting grain-based foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice dishes, choose items that are made from whole grains," says Miller. "Whole grains are a source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber, as well as other plant substances that can help fight disease. Foods made from refined or enriched grains often lack some of these nutrients. To ensure that the food you are choosing is 100% whole grain, make sure you do not see the words 'enriched' or 'refined' anywhere on the package or in the ingredient list. Some examples of healthy whole-grain foods include 100% whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, popcorn, and oatmeal."

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.

 

 

ON YOUR MARK

July 22, 2011Read: 1 John 1

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” –1 John 1:9

Well, we’re at the end of marathon week. If you missed any of the entries, we hope you go back a few days and catch up. But on this final leg, I’d like to go back to what Loretta said at 4:00 a.m. the morning of the race. Sitting on the edge of the bed, with barely enough light to tie her shoes, she paused. Her unpinned race number lay beside her, along with the invitation to the race, and with a nervous smile she said, “Am I really doing this?” “You’re ready,” I told her. “I’ll see you at the finish.”

And when I finally found her, 26.2 miles and just over four hours later, amidst the crowd and celebration, you know what she did? After a long, happy, tearful hug, she showed me her medal. Did she win? Well, in my book, yes. But actually, everyone had a medal. The prize went to anyone who accepted the invitation to the race.

Friends, God invites us to accept Jesus into our hearts and lives. When we do, we join a race He’s already won on our behalf. Our job is to trace His steps and help others do the same. See you at the finish.

–J.P.

RESTED DEVELOPMENT

One thing we haven’t discussed in our PrayFit marathon week?  The importance of good rest following the race. In fact, experts say to take as long as a week or two to fully recover. Light activity like walking or easy swimming are excellent ideas to help the joints and muscles recover from the vigorous strain of a long run like the marathon, not to mention the weeks of preparation necessary to complete it.

Our plea to adhere to good rest is not limited to marathoners. If that were the case, few of us would be resting! So in general, our bodies need good rest and recovery time, so feel free to take time off every few months, performing mild activity for a few days at a time to maximize recuperation. Also, take time to get an adequate amount of rest each week. If you’re sore, fatigued or otherwise limited, it could be your body’s way of telling you to back off slightly. Serious lifters, for example, will train a single bodypart hard then rest it for a full week.

Rest will help your joints and muscles, while also providing your mind some time to recover. Good message for a Friday? We think so.

>> CHANGE YOUR LIFE: "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," isn't just a "how to" book. In a strange departure from the fitness genre, PrayFit address the "why." Once you address the why -- being healthier for your spouse or kids, setting an example for your congregation -- the "how" becomes easy. Read up on the core message of PrayFit, place a book order, or gift someone else with faith and fitness by clicking here.

OPEN HOUSE

March 22, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey playfully chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for your heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.

--J.P.

FUEL AND FAT

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

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine