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His Work, One Year Later

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

Read: Romans 5

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

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

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

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR CHURCH

Jimmy Peña's message of health as a means of praise is being well-received by congregations around the country. His storytelling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com. Share this information with pastors, elders and influencers with the knowledge that there is never a speaking fee for churches!

Uphill Battles

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

Read: Galatians 6

>> AUDIO: Click here to listen to Jimmy read today's entry. [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

EATING IN BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS

So what's our new book about anyway? The PrayFit Diet, available in stores now, can help you feel your best, not by starving you or cutting out carbs but by showing you how to eat in balance. Perfectly proportioned meal planning that improves vitality while keeping you fulfilled! This faith-filled manual is fortified by real science demonstrating that when all three macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) are eaten in equal caloric ratios, magic happens. Inflammation is reduced, energy improves, other health markers improve. You have enough energy from carbs to power through workouts, enough protein to support muscle repair and retention and enough healthy fat to cushion joints, improve heart health and support brain function. Taken in total, this can help you become a better steward of your physical health! If any (or all) of this sounds like something that you or a loved one can benefit from, grab a copy or two today by clicking here.

Hope Does Not Disappoint

"Hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:5

Read: Romans 5

I've always loved today's verse. Read it again. I've purposefully held out the surrounding verses, because I want to focus on this phrase for a second. See, when the world mentions the word "hope," its tone is usually one of question or doubt. I hope I get an "A". I hope she likes me. I hope nobody notices. I hope....

Well, the Bible says that strength comes to those who hope in the Lord. No question there. No sign of doubts. It's a done deal. Why? God...will...come...through...for...us. How do we know? He died for us. That's why Paul said in Romans 15, "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace." Look up and read the verse again out loud.

Are you in need of a sure thing? When dreams allude us and people fall short, and all we want is a glimmer:

"We know that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." --Romans 5:3-5

It's the ultimate catch-22. If we invite the God of hope into our hearts, He delivers it on impact.

And you know what they say about hope.

--Jimmy Peña

DID YOU KNOW? There are two times of the day when simple (fast-digesting) carbs, such as white bread and sugars, are less likely to impact your waistline: first thing in the morning and after a hard workout. During sleep and exercise, your body burns through stored sugars, leaving you in something of a carb deficit. At most other times of the day, excess carbs or fast-burning carbs are more likely to result in stored body fat.

(Page 59, The PrayFit Diet)

WORKOUT: PRAYFIT 33

We've been talking a lot about nutrition lately and we hope that you are all enjoying the abundance set forth in The PrayFit Diet. But if you're looking for workouts that can truly send your results off the charts, we've got just the thing. Either of PrayFit's two at-home workout DVDs can help you build strength and burn body fat, taking greater advantage of the food prescriptions we lay out in The PrayFit Diet. Try this sample workout, led by Jimmy, then pick up your DVDs to help accelerate your results by clicking here.

Alone in a Crowded Courtyard

"If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." --John 15:20

Read: John 15

Yesterday's post stirred my heart. Here's how I see the same scene. When Jesus was taken into custody and led to the home of the high priest, Peter followed, wanting to stay as close to Jesus as he could. He did so at his own peril -- if the guards had realized that he was one of the twelve, Peter could have been on the fourth cross at Calvary. But that was Peter...a bold, brazen and unapologetic follower of Christ. Then they entered the courtyard.

Peter sat there, the glow of the firelight on his face, his mind racing with ideas on how he could be used to help his captive Savior. Just then, the flames betrayed more than his concern -- they revealed his identity. Recognized by someone from across the fire, Peter began to shrink from his steely determination and quickly denied who he was and who He was there for. A second mention of his association with Christ brought knots to his stomach. Again he denied. And the third put an arrow through his heart -- because at this denial, he caught the eyes of a crestfallen Christ. Though He knew Peter would disassociate himself, the denial didn't hurt any less.

Whether it's in the court of public opinion or our family's Sunday dinners, we as believers can sometimes feel like loners in a crowded courtyard. Persecuted for who we follow, we can find ourselves absorbing the whispers and suspicious scowls of those across the fire but we can rest on two unquestionable truths: 1) He said it would be this way. 2) Peter became the rock upon which the Lord built His church.

Being alone in the crowd isn't comfortable...just an honor.

--Eric Velazquez

Final Prayfit Diet CoverHAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR COPY? Thanks to you, The PrayFit Diet has seen a huge surge in its opening week. Social media is abuzz with the simplicity of the plan -- "The 33 Balance" -- and what it can do to help you change the way you look and feel...forever. No deprivation, no elimination of food groups -- just perfect, biblical balance that triggers weight loss, reduces inflammation, improves joint health, heart health and brain function and drastically increases energy! Help us carry the momentum into the weekend by ordering yours today!

JIMMY ON THE 700 CLUB

Did you catch Jimmy on yesterday's episode of The 700 Club? Jimmy got to cook one of the recipes from The PrayFit Diet in studio while discussing the amazing principles of the "33 Balance" laid out in the book. Click on the player below to watch!

The Little Jobs

"I know that you can do all things; and no one can stop you." --Job 42:2

Read: Job 42

"Jimmy, come help your Daddy." As a little boy, I'd make my way to the garage, and he'd be halfway under his '34 Ford, or welding, hammering or fixing something, whistling the entire time. "Yes sir?" I'd say. Of course, I probably had a baseball glove in my hands and eager to go outside and play. But within seconds I'd be holding a light, turning screws he'd practically completed, or he'd hammer a nail almost all the way and then let me finish it. I think back to those days a lot. He gave me the little jobs. And while they were tough, he knew I could handle them. But if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I'd say, "Ask him to show you the tough stuff." See, I'm not the best with my hands like Daddy, and not a day goes by that I don't wish I was. Can anyone relate?

You know, Jesus gives us the little jobs. If Heaven were up to our ability to be good enough or Godly enough, we'd never reach it. So He climbed on the cross to die for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him. A job nobody on earth -- below or above -- could do. He's put us in charge of things that require our effort.

So I take it back. Actually, if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I think I'd say, "Hey, don't hurry outside. He doesn't need your help, he wants your help. He just wants to spend time with you. Whistle with him. He's got the tough stuff. Just stay close."

Oh friends, may you and I -- as we tackle our little jobs on earth -- do just that.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: We can't work our way to Heaven, but God put us in charge of something that requires our effort: this body. What are you doing to be a good helper for the little job He's given you? A job He still oversees. 

HEART HEALTH BULLETIN: What is better for training your most important muscle? Rest or work? The experts weigh in. Click for the full story.

>> Bring this message to your church by contacting us here.

Thanks For The Memory

I'm becoming somewhat of a king of forgetfulness. It's true. And it's not just about where I put my truck keys, but where I actually put my truck. Oh, it gets worse. Things that happened last week might as well have happened last year. Like, blank. Truthfully, I find myself whispering to myself, "I can't remember."

Speaking of memory, did anyone catch the 60 Minutes episode on Sunday about the memory wizards? If you missed it, it was a story about a very exclusive group of people that never forget anything. And when I say anything, I mean it. Pick a date out of a hat from years past and they can tell you what happened, what they were wearing, and what day of the week it was. And what's more, they actually feel the emotion of every day that they've ever lived. Like a sweater against your skin, they do more than remember, they still feel it.

One little boy's story made me pause. On what should've been a normal, happy day, the little boy relives being scolded by his dad. After 365 days, he still feels like he's in trouble. And it breaks his father's heart that his son can't let go of that memory. To the camera the son simply says, "I can't forget."

Buried in the deepest sea; Remembered no more; As far as the East is from the West. These are just a few of the ways the Bible describes how well God remembers our sin. Imagine that. Where as I work to remember my yesterday, He chooses to forget it. Oh my King of Forgetfulness. And yours too. How is it we forget to look to the Cross each day and exclaim, "Thank you for the memory."

--Jimmy Peña

 

ON THE AGENDA: STRENGTH

If getting stronger this year is on your agenda, then this workout should be on today's to-do list. In this segment from the PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge, Jimmy walks you through a challenging, at-home routine that can help you build tons of strength -- your base for whatever else you want to do in 2014.

Seeing Words

Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28) Christian vocalist Mark Harris has a wonderful line in one of his songs that goes, "Preach Christ, even if it means use words." Plainly put, our actions to an unbelieving world matter more than what we say. I thought of that line last week watching the recap of Nelson Mandela's memorial. By now you're aware that while the President and other world leaders offered their speeches, the sign language interpreter was doing anything but interpreting. Sadly, some people needed to see words.

As Christians in the fitness industry, what an exciting opportunity you have to take God's message to your individual corners of the world. Without a doubt, someone is listening to your actions. Among undoubtedly countless other lessons, your daily diligence and discipline have helped them make better food and exercise choices. Imagine, your life in motion is a spark that may have extended the lives of others. Some are also watching what your life says about humility and modesty. In an industry with no shame, you -- the Christian in the gym -- roar when you don't compromise. Whether your life is all about His hands and feet, or your own abs and arms, they hear it loud and clear. What an awesome responsibility.

Friends, those around us who don't know Jesus, they live in silence. Much like the deaf community last week, they could be depending on a stranger, straining to hear every move. Who'll deliver if not us? Our one chance to get it right could be their only chance to get the message. Our life is that chance. Our chance is our choice. Our choice is a voice. Let's keep talking. Preach Christ, even if it means use words.

–Jimmy Peña

"Whether your life is all about His hands and feet, or your own abs and arms, they hear it loud and clear."

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: THE LUNGE

Lunge | Focus: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back | (VIDEO)

Stand with your feet together, abs tight and eyes focused forward. Step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower yourself, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass your toes on your front foot. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor and reverse directions, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to the start. Alternate legs for reps.

TARGET MUSCLES: Glutes, hamstrings, quads

>> For more exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

>> Looking for a workout to develop your lunge proficiency? Try one of the many options available at our Fitness page.

Christmas Presence

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."--Luke 2:16

"What do you give to someone who has everything?" That's a common question asked year after year by a countless number of people.  But what do you give someone who is everything? Well, that original question was uttered only once by a small group of eyewitnesses. Maybe the Shepherds asked each other that very thing as "they hurried off "(v. 16).

Wait, did you notice that? Long before Jesus gave the lame the strength to walk, He had shepherds running. After the angel told them the news, I doubt they hung around the fields, or grabbed a bite to catch up on the latest herder's gossip. No, the news of Jesus had these shepherds high-stepping with hearts pumping. Were they unsure of what to give God? Perhaps. But they were ironclad-certain about doing their best just to get there. Showing up out of love, out of excuses and out of breath. What they lacked in presents, they made up with their presence.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: If you've been on PrayFit for a few years, you may recognize today's entry. I just can't help but imagine that night, right? The announcement, the reaction, the action. Just to be near Him. What do you give someone who IS everything? You give Him everything, beginning with all you got.

WHAT IS PRAYFIT? Click play below for a three-minute peek into the heart and soul of the nation's fastest growing faith-and-fitness ministry

>> Want to bring this message to your church or community event? Reach out to us TODAY at info@prayfit.com.

Go Back and Ask

"God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. I AM has sent me to you." --Exodus 3:14

I AM your solutionRead: Exodus 3

When Moses needed a name, he got one. "Tell them I AM sent you." Before Moses became one of the greatest leaders the world ever knew, he needed guidance. The leader needed leading. So he went back and asked for it. Not the run-of-the-mill, garden-variety, Twitter-savvy kind of guidance, but he needed what only God could give; Himself.

Imagine if that were our first thought as we begin the week. Is your plate full? Big tests coming up? Maybe the boss has loaded you up with more than you think you can handle, or you just can't quite find the strength to sure up healthier habits. Whatever this new week stacks against us, make sure you remind yourself of Who lives in your heart.

If you notice, Moses didn't gather his wits, self-confidence or assurance. He didn't look in the mirror or take a selfie and repeat to himself, "You're Moses, you're strong, talented, you're handsome and happy. You GOT THIS!" No, Moses knew what was up. And he wasn't up for the task without the Lord. Who are we to think otherwise? Truth is, our week is no match for the One who sends us, and we're nothing for the week if we don't go back and ask.

--Jimmy Peña

Workout of the Week: Build & Burn

This start-of-the-week workout will have you building strength and burning fat in only a few intense minutes per session. Grab some open space and some dumbbells or heavy soup cans if you have them. After a 5-minute warm-up, you'll get to work with this total-body blast, starting with legs. You then move to back, shoulders and arms and finish the circuit on the floor with push-ups and planks to failure. If you have time or the energy, take a couple minutes to rest and repeat the cycle. The jump squats will be brutal but you should expect to achieve around 15-20 reps each round. Rest only as long as necessary before beginning the next exercise.

Welcome to Monday!

Bodyweight Squats for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Deadlifts for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Bent-Over Row for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Overhead Press for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Biceps Curl for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Triceps Kickbacks for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Bodyweight Push-Up to failure Jump Squats to failure Plank to failure Repeat the cycle

>> Click here for exercise videos and descriptions!

>> If you're looking for a more comprehensive, daily program to help you reach your fitness goals, try one of our at-home workout DVDs by clicking here.

Baylor Bound

When I first arrived on the Baylor University campus as an 18-year old, I wasn't sure what to expect. As a Christian from the West Texas town of El Paso, I went to Baylor to play baseball, but after my first season as a redshirt freshman, I injured my ankle so bad that it landed me on the disabled list and in a cast. Any hopes of playing my sophomore season were dashed. But during my time on the DL, I found a hole-in-the-wall gym on campus called Russell Gym; school was in session, the lessons soon began.

I won't try to dramatize it, but there was just something special about that gym. Something about the things I learned between those walls. Something about the exercise techniques and tactics, the training splits and proper form. From the trials, the pitfalls, struggles, friendships, sacrifices and all of the blood, sweat and tears, there was definitely something about that place. I couldn't put my finger on it back then, but I can now.

As my wife and I return to my alma mater as special guests to speak to students and enjoy a good game, I know now what that something was: you. The driving force behind PrayFit, the DVDs, the books, each recipe and tidbit, and the nearly six years of devotions is simply you. Your health from the inside out is my highest calling. It's surreal, but little did I know that when the good Lord allowed me to walk into that gym, He would eventually allow me to walk into your homes. I can tell you with sentimental certainty that when I tour my old campus, I'll be thanking it for you.

Well, on that note, the next PrayFit Daily will hit next Tuesday, November 12. Please pray for me and Loretta as we travel and for the students the Lord allows us to talk to. While we're gone, we'll be sure to have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as we document the week. Be blessed everyone. Going home.

--Jimmy Peña

Little did I know that when the good Lord allowed me to walk into that gym, He would eventually allow me to walk into your homes. --Jimmy Peña

NOW BOOKING SPEAKING APPEARANCES If you are a regular visitor to our site, then you are likely familiar with the core of Jimmy Peña's message. But if you've never had the chance to hear this message delivered in person, now is your chance. PrayFit is actively seeking churches to visit this fall and winter. Write us at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring Jimmy to a service at your place of worship!

SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY!

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They Knew What To Do

"Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" --Mark 4:38

Read: Mark 4

The disciples knew what to do. Isn't it true? We try and relate to those great men on so many levels, but for some reason, this week's theme on fear seems especially relatable. They knew what to do, and if you think about, they were the first to do it. Do what exactly? Well, they did literally what you and I do metaphorically. They praised Him in the storm. We know the story. First came the wind, then the waves. And with teeth chattering and knees knocking, the terrified bunch woke the only one who could put the sea to sleep.

Of all the things that we talked about this week, what did you connect with? For me, I think the truth that He takes our fears seriously has been a source of comfort. Take a look at our story today. Jesus may have been asleep in the boat, but He wasn't asleep at the wheel. And it's not that the storm wasn't threatening, or that the disciples were silly for being scared. No, the storm that night was real. But Jesus took their fears seriously.

Of all the things we can learn from this story, it's that Jesus didn't hush the storm to prove its insignificance. He hushed it to show their significance to Him.

Your storms are real. Our fears are real. But when your teeth chatter and my knees buckle, we can follow their lead, amen? They knew what to do. We can too. In many ways, we're in the same boat. Brings a lump to my throat to think He's patiently waiting for me to wake Him up.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Even though He was asleep that night, I like to imagine Jesus asleep with one eye open waiting for us to call on Him. Maybe even with a little grin. I don't know, but His face, His grin makes our worries cease. Whatever you're going through, I hope this week blessed your life and the lives of those you love. If you missed any of this week's entries, we hope you find some time to go back and review. Many of us are in need of comfort and prayer during times of fear, so please lift some names up.

SCHEDULE A FAITH & FITNESS WEEKEND FOR YOUR CHURCH!

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com.

Pure Strength

Yesterday we touched on the idea of "A Strong Life" and I thought we'd continue the discussion. What exactly does a strong life look like? In the shortest, simplest form, the strongest life you'll ever meet -- both spiritually and physically -- is one that has committed their life to Christ and is committed to honoring Him with their health. Now, the first and most important part of that sentence is a life that has Jesus in their hearts. Someone who is saved, Heaven-bound and Spirit-led. Then once eternity is taken care of, time on earth has guidance, which leads us to the second part of the sentence. Honoring Him with our bodies takes on many, many forms.

What is it not about? Well, let me say this. I know preachers that have never stepped foot in a gym and who may not have been the healthiest, but who did more for the Kingdom of God physically than the fittest "Christian athlete." So we know it's not about aesthetics, or perception or ability or the reflection. Honoring Him with our bodies goes to the core of who we are in Him, through Him and because of Him.

You know, if someone were to ask us to summarize today's workout as well as what we read in God's word today, which one would be easier to recount? Many of us know when it's "Leg Day" but have no plan for what scripture we've set aside to read. Truth is, we honor Him with our bodies first by the amount of time we spend with Him. In fact, tending to our spiritual needs requires physical discipline; stopping, getting on our knees, reading our Bibles, praying. Physical discipline for spiritual strength.

Once we've trained in godliness, then we can do physically whatever glorifies Him, and protects and rejuvenates our bodies, what's enjoyable, habit-forming, etc. For some, it's walking, swimming, running, lifting or a combination. And once we've cared for the soul and the body, we put the two to use in tandem by serving God and those He's brought into our lives: family, neighbors, church, friends, the less fortunate. A strong life is one of service, of character, commitment, discipline, priority, practice. Fact is, a strong life can take on too many forms for a lowly fitness devotional to handle. But our little lives can be strong because we serve a mighty God who wants to do His will through us.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What is YOUR definition of a strong life?

Many of us know when it's "Leg Day" but have no plan for what scripture we've set aside to read. Truth is, we honor Him with our bodies first by the amount of time we spend with Him. --Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BeFit Workout with Jimmy

Use this four-minute jaunt through the PrayFit gauntlet energize your efforts and start living a strong life today

>> To order the full video for you to do at home, click the links on the video directly or visit the online store today!

Out Of The Pits

"You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." --Genesis 50:20

Read: Genesis 50

Left out, left behind, left for dead. Young Joey could do no wrong in his father's eyes, so his big brothers squinted theirs. In a jealous plot, Joey's brothers took him for a long walk off a short pier. The next thing this favorite son knew, he was lying in a pit, listening to the sound of clanging silver in exchange for his life. And before long, he was in a foreign land full of foreign faces that spoke a foreign language.

Your boss gives the promotion to the one who sleeps in his cubicle. Someone else gets the credit for the work you did on the school group project. We may not be shipped off to another country, but we sure do know our way around the pits. But a neat thing about young Joey is that although the breaks got rough, they didn't break him. He made good. Learned the language, made friends, stayed focused. It wasn't long until the king alone out-ranked him.

In our week of looking at great life-closers, Joseph's story is unavoidable. From pit to prime minister. Of everything I draw from it, two things jump off the page. First, despite his circumstances, Joseph honed his unique, God-given gift. Everything around him might have been foreign, but the same God he knew at home was the same God in Egypt. So Joseph resolved to cling to his dreams, literally. (If you're a dreamer, keep it up.) And second, he chose to forgive. One snap of his fingers and his begging brothers would be begging for their lives. Nobody would have blamed him, but Joseph knew that what some people mean for bad, God can make great.

See, Joseph was a closer. Written off in chapter one, his rough start made for one great conclusion.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What do you love about the story of Joseph? What can his faithfulness and forgiveness teach us about our lives, our health, our perspective? Do you feel like you need a tighter grip on your dreams? Have you ever felt like you're in Egypt? Are you there now?

FAITH & FITNESS AT YOUR CHURCH: You have a house full of believers -- devout in its faith, dutiful in its service. But how is the physical health of your church? Is stewardship of health a topic of discussion? If not, it may be time to add a new message to the mission of the congregation -- one that places a higher value on abundant living, one that charges members to care for the body that carries the soul. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña is hitting the road in the coming weeks and months to help spread this message of faith and fitness, of health and a heart for service. Click play below for more on this message and write us today at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next church or community event.

Live, Eat and Sleep

There he is. He's been up all night. If you've been with us the last couple of days, you know what he's writing and to whom. He's almost to the end of one of his letters. The rhythmic regularity of the occasional drop of water echoes off the cold walls of the prison, and the light of the lamp is now competing with the small ray coming from a window near the ceiling. Staring at the new patch of light on the floor, he finishes this sentence. "...training it to do what it should."

Paul knew that athletes live, eat and sleep their sport. He understood the rigors, the devotion, the sacrifices, and the quest to be the one to win. If you're a competitive runner, he could've easily been describing you. That up-at-dawn discipline inside you? The dedication toward winning your next race? Paul got it.

But unlike the runner who trains for a race, we train during one. We train daily and compete daily, don't we? So with that in mind, notice carefully his choice of words. Training (a process) it (the body) to do (to act, proceed) what it should (the right thing)Paul wants us to train our eyes to notice the lonely, our ears to hear the helpless, and to deny the flesh. We're to run to Christ, run away from sin, run to those in need, and to do it all the time.

And he knew that in order for us to do that, we have to live, eat and sleep the Word of God. You know, like athletes. The kind that -- like Paul -- train to win.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Tomorrow we'll finish our study, but as you may have realized, Paul isn't talking about a concern for how the body looks, but he's claiming the kind of spiritual discipline in his life that athletes have in their sport. Imagine how equipped spiritually we would be if we studied God's word as much as we trained physically. That's what Paul is talking about. Are we training to win?

_________________________________

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Bodyweight Squat

Many of our workouts here at PrayFit.com revolve around bodyweight training. Why? The reasons are numerous but this form of resistance training can be done by practically anyone, anywhere and at anytime -- no equipment or expensive gym membership necessary. But to get the most out of these exercises, it's important to become a student -- then a master -- of the fundamentals. Today, we take a look at the best lower-body exercise around: the squat.

TARGET MUSCLES: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

EXECUTION: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, a light bend in your knees and your toes turned out slightly. Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Pause when your legs reach a 90-degree angle, then forcefully drive through your heels, extending at your hips and knees until you arrive at the standing position.

>> For more exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

>> Looking for a workout to develop your squat proficiency? Try one of the many options available at our Fitness page.

Just Because

"Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as unto the Lord, and not for men." --Colossians 3:23

Read: Colossians 3 The last two days have been special in the Peña household. My beloved Yankees came to town to play the Dodgers. But stay with me, you football fans, it gets better. See, it's because I wasn't able to actually go to the game that I had the honor of listening to the legendary Vin Scully broadcast it. To hear him welcome "The Great Derek Jeter" to the plate (his words) was, well, was just about perfect.

For those who know Vin Scully, you're well aware that he can find the best stories about each player on the baseball field. Well, my night went from good to great when he reminisced about current Dodger coach Don Mattingly back in 1995 -- then the Yankees veteran captain -- talking to a young rookie Derek Jeter. Vin Scully recounted, "It was just a regular practice. The stadium was empty. Not a soul in the stands. And when it was time to go to the clubhouse, Don turned to Derek and said, 'Let's run. Always hustle. You never know who's watching.'"

You never know who's watching. Well, we know who's watching don't we?  Our verse today says, "Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as unto the Lord, and not for men." (Colossians 3:23) We've said it before but there's no reason why we should ever be out-worked. Never so that the world sees us, or for the social community to praise us, but simply for the Lord. You know, the longer I live the more I know that Jesus is the reason we summon whatever it is He made us with to answer life's call from the deepest parts of us.

He's why we forgive and give, hold the door, hold the hand, hold our tongues. He's why we serve, share, smile with people one day and cry with them the next. And He's why we see health as stewardship. He's why we take the stairs, take charge of what we drink, take ownership of what we eat. He's why we run, walk, swim, train and work with all our might. And He's why we do so modestly and quietly. Does He love us more or less if we succeed or fail at any of it? Of course not. And that's just why. So friends, today, in our own unique way, in whatever ways we have to or can, let's run. Always hustle. Just because He's watching.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Are you answering your life's call from the deepest parts of you? Is it time to run at work, school, the dinner table?

HUSTLE AT WORK

For as often as we espouse the virtues of high-intensity training, some may find our fitness tips to be a bit intimidating. After all, working harder than you’re accustomed to never sounds like a fun undertaking. And while there are some actual, defining guidelines for intensity — i.e. working to 95% of your max effort on an interval run — you can take heart knowing that it is also relative.

One example is interval walking. If you’re not up to performing sprints, you can simply speed up the pace of your walks. Try walking at a faster clip for 30 seconds, then falling back into your normal pace for 1-4 minutes. As you progress, speed up the pace — it may not be long before you’re into a slow jog — and/or shorten rest periods. Ideally, you want to work toward 30-second “sprints” followed by one-minute “walks.” One study showed that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week burned more bodyfat than those who did traditional steady-state cardio. But the term “sprint” is a measure of effort, rather than speed.

You don’t have to be a sprinter to get the fat-burning, heart-healthy benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By applying the basic tenets of HIIT to your cardio and implementing concept of progression, you can start right where you are — today.

Step Into Delight

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and enter his courts with praise; be thankful in your hearts to him and bless his holy name." --Psalm 100:4

Read: Psalm 100

During their years at Baylor University, Brooke and Mattie were like peas and carrots; always together. Not only were they roommates, they went to the same classes, same after-school activities. Together they volunteered, worked with charities, and counseled local school children. Suffice it to say, they were tight. Brooke, the musician of the two, loves to play the sax and she's played piano since she was four years old. She's so good at music, in fact, she has perfect pitch. In other words, she doesn't need to hear Middle C on the keyboard or need a guitar strum as a reference. She can identify between any two notes without help. Mattie on the other hand, although she never learned an instrument, was likely at every rehearsal and performance.

Being an old Baylor grad myself, their story caught my attention recently. See, after graduating in May, Brooke moved back home to pursue her Master's degree at Colorado State. And I'm guessing Mattie will be there too. I'm only guessing because Brooke was born blind, and Mattie is her 6-year old seeing-eye German Shepherd, who according to the story, slows down before steps, avoids obstacles and stops before drop-offs. That's some pedigree if you ask me.

It's Monday. Let's step into delight. No matter what your day or week has in store, let's turn our attention to the good Lord. Let's do like Brooke and find what's bright where there seems to be no light. Let's give thanks. And when it comes to health, please give me a show of hands for those thanking God for their health today. How about a show of hands of those asking God for health today. Curious, how 'bout a show of hands for those with both hands up. Oh friends. If you're raising yours, God can hear you. He hears your hurts and your joyous praise. He can hear both at the same time. And He has perfect pitch.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. There might be one walk Brooke takes without Mattie, and that's when she marries her fiance Dean Bisogno, whom she met while at Baylor. But I like to think that Mattie won't be too far away.

>> Enjoy Brooke's story in the WacoTrib.com: CLICK HERE

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Mastering the Push-Up

The push-up is a tough but fantastic exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and to a lesser extent your core musculature. So mastering it, even through the initial road bumps, is a good idea. This workout will get you on your way to push-up mastery!

>> Click here for the workout!

Trust My Guts

"There is no one who understands. No one seeks after God." --Romans 3:11

Read: Romans 3

I've been updating my bio and resume. Ever had to do that? It's not easy, especially the older you get. I ponder, Where to start? and What to highlight? As I sigh, the blinking cursor on my screen seems to be in perfect cadence with the sound of a thunderous, slow drum. Bong! Bong! Bong! I do my best to summarize my work. I try my hardest to sum up the years. But my first draft misses the mark as badly as I missed the trash can with it.

We are not our resume, are we? I kinda want to just write, I'm saved by grace, I married up, wrote some books. And oh, trust me when I tell you I have heart. Recently, our friend Allison Earnst sent me a plaque that simply says, "God Give Me Guts." And He did. He does. He will. That's what I'd like to tell prospective opportunities. Trust my guts. My strengths are best illustrated by my weaknesses, not awards. Call me sentimental -- granted I type this in tears -- but having spent the last five-plus years making sure nothing we say at PrayFit ever sounds boastful, selling myself along with the specialness of PrayFit just seems off for me.

Friends, getting through trials doesn't reveal our strength. (No, the trials do a pretty good job of that.) Getting through trials reveals God's grace and produces our character. That's why for my latest job description I'd be more comfortable simply writing I got up. Indeed, God allowed me to get up to keep fighting the good fight. But as I rise and wipe the dust off my back, I can't pat.

Well, enough of that, I guess. I finished it. Hopefully the page reads like I wrote it. But friends, it's not that I don't give myself a little credit for the good stuff, it's that I can't give myself any. The good in me and you? God. All the rest? Me and you.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Yesterday we talked about goals. We loved the responses and the swing-for-the-fence objectives. And much like my lofty aspirations, achieving yours or accomplishing each perfectly doesn't determine the worth of each. It's in the heart behind them and the goal before them. Like Theodore Roosevelt once said, "The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena. Who strive valiantly. Who know the great enthusiasms. The great devotions. And who spend themselves for a worthy cause. Who, if they succeed, know the triumph of high achievement. And who -- if they fail -- fail while daring greatly. So that their place will never be, with those cold and timid souls, who knew neither victory or defeat." I suspect there are no cold and timid souls reading this page today, amen? God gets the credit.

BRINGING PRAYFIT'S MESSAGE TO YOUR CHURCH OR COMMUNITY

Health as a means of praise. This fundamental message, which is sorely overlooked in this growing industry, is one that is affecting congregations and communities across the country. And yours could be next. Write us today at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña to your next event or Sunday service. Click (and share) the video below for a preview of this powerful, transformative message!

Even If It's Dirty

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

Read: Matthew 28

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

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

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

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

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

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

Change in Heart

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

Read: Matthew 17

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

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

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

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

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