voice

His Name Is John

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. If you read today's chapter, you know that Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And his son will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah no doubt. He'll be the frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from -- wait for it -- none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think it would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, the little faith of Zacharias spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the very day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: HIS NAME IS JOHN.

In that instant, the Bible says he got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. Isn't it interesting that Zacharias was only allowed to speak after he changed his heart and trusted? What has God put on your heart that you need courage for?  What roadblocks and barriers are rearing their heads? What is your God-given plan? Let's clear our throats and speak.

TRAVEL UPDATE: Speaking of getting voices back, today I head to Florida. I'll be speaking tomorrow night at First Baptist Church in Bartow! So very grateful to be invited to this wonderful church and venue. Please pray for me as I prepare to share my heart with the nice people of Bartow. We'll be back to entries on Monday, September 23rd. Be blessed everyone.

>> JIMMY ON THE MIC: Thousands across the country have had the opportunity to hear Jimmy deliver his message in person, with a great many of them telling us -- and others -- how they were impacted. This message, by the author of the blog She Does Justice, is a great example of what folks are taking away from these events. To find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next event, e-mail us for more info! Click the video below for a sneak preview of what you can expect!

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"

Get Your Voice Back

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And he will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah, no doubt. He'll be the frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from - wait for it - none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think it would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, Zacharias' little faith spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: His name is John.

In that instant, the bible says he got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. What has God put on your heart that you need courage to accept? With the New Year well under way, what roadblocks and barriers to a healthier 2013 are already rearing their head? What is your plan? Do you have your voice back?

INTENSITY EQUALS PROGRESS

How hard do you train? If you haven't asked yourself this question lately, then it's probably likely that change to your health and physique are hard to come by. By gradually pushing yourself a bit harder -- and intensity is relative -- you will see greater results, faster.

>> Click here for more on how intensity plays into health and fitness and how you can use it to reach your goals faster in 2013.

Get Your Voice Back

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And he will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah, no doubt. The frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think that would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, Zacharias' little faith spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: His name is John.

He got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. What has God put on your heart that you need courage to accept?

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BeFit with Jimmy and Kym

To start this week, we encourage you to dive into these workout tactics, brought to you by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña and Dancing with the Stars cast member Kym Johnson. In the video below, Jimmy discusses why faith is important for staying fit, then puts Kym through the paces of a workout that requires only resistance bands and your own bodyweight. For more workouts like this one, courtesy of our friends at Lionsgate, visit their BeFit channel on YouTube.

THE REASON FOR THE CALL

November 2, 2011 Read: Matthew 28

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." --Matthew 28:19

Yesterday's conference call took an interesting turn. See, I was blessed to be the link between my friend (the reason for the call) and a potential group of investors. Compared to the names on the line, I was definitely the little man.

Well, things seemed to be going just fine, but as the meeting was coming to a close, my friend did the unexpected. In his closing remarks to everyone he said, "Jimmy speaks for me." And then he hung up. (Cue the crickets) In one sentence, my role changed. Four little words converted me from little man to middle man. The reason for the call was gone, but I was his voice. Eyes wide, heart pumping. "Say something" I thought to myself. (Cue the life lesson)

Friends, you and I represent the Reason for our call; in how we speak, work, live...and move...

Say something.

--J.P.

FAST FACT

47 Percentage reduction in symptoms of depression for those who walked 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.

Source: MedicineNet.com

SWING AWAY

October 5, 2011Read: Philippians 1

"For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain." --Philippians 1:21

Well, seasons come and go. Baseball seasons, that is. If you've followed PrayFit for any length of time, by now you know we're baseball people. And personally, I have a tradition. Each year, since I left high school, I call my little league coach on the first game of the year and whenever it could be the last. And yesterday, with my beloved Yankees facing elimination, I called coach. The same voice that comforted me as a 9-year-old, somehow does the same decades later.

Not sure if you can relate, but some days just feel like the last game of the season. Whether at work, school or in your quest for greater health, we often feel like one more strike and we're done. But friend, don't quit. Like Paul said, "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain." Whatever we lose in obedience on earth, God has something better in mind, especially if it's our Game 7. So step out of the box, and call on Him. Hear His familiar voice. And if the sun comes up, it's not just another at-bat. It's God's sign for us to swing away.

--J.P.

THE DAIRY DEBATE

In "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," we advocate a balanced diet that splits calories evenly between protein, carbs and fat. The diverse selection on the weekly menu includes plenty of milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt, which has raised some eyebrows. While some suggest that dairy can contribute to inflammation and other allergies, the connection may be somewhat overblown.

"There is little clinical data showing a relationship between dairy and inflammation," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, senior science editor for Muscle & Fitness, FLEX and M&F Hers magazines and architect of the "PrayFit's" nutrition plan. "There is, however, a lot of research showing that dairy protein is one of the most effective for building lean muscle. That is not only important for aesthetic reasons, but for quality of life as we age. And since muscle mass is a metabolic tissue, it can help to further aid fat loss.

Stoppani concedes that dairy's bad rap isn't without cause. "Yes, there is some "evidence" to suggest that dairy products may be related to some inflammation. Again, there is not strong enough data yet to fully support this.  If it is a major concern for you, however, on any diet that recommends dairy you can simply replace any dairy foods with other protein choices, such as eggs, poultry, fish, or beef."

>> For more from Dr. Stoppani, visit his official website at www.jimstoppani.com. To try the PrayFit diet for yourself, pick up "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" today at Amazon.

MIRACLE GROW

June 23, 2011Read: Luke 19

"'I tell you,' he replied, 'If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." --Luke 19:40

I know I'm getting older and much more sentimental, because few things in life nowadays are as great as overhearing my wife talking to her plants. Can you relate? Her voice changes in pitch as she compliments and encourages. She apologizes to those not getting enough sun and to those getting too much. Supplying all that love simply brings her pleasure.

I like to think about how sentimental God must be. He cares for us, talks to us, feeds us and protects us. We're alive simply for His pleasure, and He loves to watch us grow. But the cool thing is, we're the part of His creation designed to thank and praise Him in return. And friends, the way we care for our health is one way to do just that. After all, if we find fulfillment when the things we love respond, just imagine God, seeing us do the same.

--J.P.

TIP OF THE DAY: Visualize to Maximize

Monday, our workout of the week targeted your back. But a few of the moves are easy to get wrong if you don't make one simple adjustment.

Pulling exercises are multijoint moves, meaning that movement occurs at more than one joint. In the case of rows, pulldowns and pull-ups, your elbows and shoulders are both working to execute each rep. But the tendency with many back movements is to let your biceps dominate -- flexion at the elbow takes center stage, giving your back a bit of a break and thereby minimizing the effectiveness of the exercise.

One way you can reduce -- not eliminate -- the assistance provided by your biceps is to use your imagination. On movements such as the lat pulldown, imagine you have strings attached to your elbows that pull them straight down toward the ground. This will help you initiate the pull with your elbows instead of your biceps, which will engage your lats harder. The concept is similar with seated rows, only your elbows should pull straight back to start each rep.

By making this simple mental adjustment, you'll be able to get your brain to "speak" more effectively to the muscles in your back during each workout.

Bonus Tip: To work your back muscles even more thoroughly, allow your shoulder blades to spread fully at the "top" of every movement. This will provide a longer stretch on each rep. Then, be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together for a count at the bottom of each rep. This extends your range of motion on both ends, providing greater stimulus for strength and tone in these hard-to-reach muscles.

HEAR MY VOICE

January 6, 2011Read: John 10

"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow." --John 10:27

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the homeless man with the golden voice. Remarkable story. Ten years homeless, cardboard sign in hand, Ted begged for money, for food -- and to be heard. "If they would only listen to me," he probably thought. He even wrote it down. But the days passed as often as the cars. "See me, hear me." Finally, someone did. Ted's world will never be the same.

Reminds me of another homeless wanderer with something to say to anyone willing to listen. He had his message written down too. Only, when someone stopped to listen, He ended up changing their world.

Have you heard His voice?

--J.P.

PRAYFIT GOES NATIONAL

Hundreds of website entries, countless hours of prayer and over two years of toil come to fruition today (Thursday, Jan. 6) with the official, nationwide debut of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and Stronger Faith in 28 Days" (Regal Books). The book features two, 28-day devotionals, daily exercise prescriptions, meal plans, healthy living tips and more that can benefit readers of all ages and fitness levels -- regardless of where they are on their walk. It is only through the support of the PrayFit community that this day is finally upon us. Thank you and blessings!

>> To pick up a copy for yourself or a friend, visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

Supporters for PrayFit are weighing in...

“Jimmy Pena is one of the most knowledgeable fitness writers I know. He’s one of our nation’s leading fitness resources. Respect.”

LL Cool J, entertainer

“This exciting devotional will enable you to live out the Scripture which says to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength! (Mark 12:30 NIV)’” -Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers, 2010 American League Most Valuable Player

“Not only is Jimmy Pena one of my best friends, but whenever I want to get dialed-in for a role or photo shoot, he’s my only call. And I love starting my day at PrayFit.com, building spiritual and physical muscle. A one-of-a-kind concept from the best in the business.”

Mario Lopez, host, EXTRA

“PrayFit is my daily dose of inspiration — both physically and spiritually — from my favorite fitness guru, Jimmy Pena. He is so well versed in faith and fitness that there’s no one else I’d rather have in my corner.”

–Rachel Cannon, actress and yoga instructor

“Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day of in the right direction.  In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well.”

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, 3-Time Boxing World Champion

“PrayFit focuses on the importance of a balanced life – a life committed to both physical and spiritual nourishment. One that flourishes when faith and fitness intersect.”

–Curtis Martin, 5-time NFL Pro Bowler

WHEN JESUS KNOCKED

December 2, 2010Read: Revelation 3

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." --Revelation 3:20

It was a typical day, a very normal day much like this one, when Jesus knocked on my heart's door. I wasn't expecting company, so when He knocked, I hesitated. Looking through the peep hole, I wasn't exactly sure what to do, so I paused. Again, He knocked gently. As I slowly opened the door to invite Him in, I admit, I was a bit embarrassed at what He walked into. I had plenty of grudges lying around, and the smell of fear lingered heavy in the air. Like I said, I wasn't expecting Him. Quickly trying to clean the place up, I asked if I could get Him anything, but He just made his way through the halls. He seemed to know His away around.

He first walked by my room of regrets. "Ugh, why didn't I keep that door closed?", I grumbled to myself. Then my shoulders drooped when He saw all the corners where I stood in compromise. "He'll surely want to leave now."

But the next thing I knew, we were in the backyard. I seldom went out there, but He led me to the garden of Grace that He himself had planted. He said this garden will never die, and that I should spend time there each day. I nodded.

Then to my surprise, when we walked back inside, everything was made new. It even had a new room; a Master's bedroom. He said if I'd let Him, that's where He'd stay. Then almost immediately, what was once a den full of doubts had become a "living" room of faith.

I'm so glad I let Him in that day. He's the resident king in the castle of my heart. I know I don't always live like I know that, but He shows me the garden everyday. And I nod.

--J.P.

FITNESS TO-DO LIST: WRITE IT DOWN

If you don't currently keep a journal, now is the day to start. By logging your progress or workouts in terms of number of sets, reps, rest periods, for example, you can track from one workout to the next just how well you’re doing. If you don’t keep a journal, it makes it very difficult for you to know if you’re improving.

Next week, we'll run a three-part series on better journal keeping. We hope that you'll start your own and visit us all next week for ways to fine tune it! For now, visit some of our featured workout journals to see how others are working toward healthier bodies.

FEATURED PRAYFIT WORKOUT JOURNALS

Amy Lynne

BChen

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