The ‘Weak’ of Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014

In all things, give thanks. (A show of hands of those who find that to be one of the most difficult, curious, or at times seemingly impossible messages we can find in God’s word.) Yesterday we began listing our blessings and what we’re thankful for, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your comments. Truly, if the week of Thanksgiving reminds us of anything, it would be our ultimate and utter dependence on the Lord. When we imagine what all we have, we acknowledge that none of it is earned or deserved; from the air we breathe, to the cars we drive, to the family and friends joining us at the table. All blessings, all gifts, all God.

But then come the weaknesses of life. Those don’t always make our list, right? In this selfie generation and especially in the fitness industry, we don’t like to talk about our weaknesses. We’d rather boast, gloat, and promote ourselves. But friends, thankfulness and contentment aren’t found in self-confidence, self-talk, self-esteem, self-sufficiency or self-assurance. If anything is self-evident, it’s that we need a little ‘self’ control. The Biblical truth? God doesn’t applaud our self-reliance.Weakness_Strength

So, pause on this: One of our greatest strengths is realizing just how weak we are. If that’s tough for us to admit, chances are we’d feel really uncomfortable around Paul. After all, it was Paul who said, “I am going to boast only about how weak I am and how great God is to use such weakness for His glory.” Friends, make no mistake, our weakness drives us (and those around us) to the Lord. And that’s one of the ways we can give thanks in all things. Call it divine irony. The tough stuff of life brings us to our knees, which just so happens to be the only place of strength.
–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: How has God used your weakness for His glory? Can you look back at a time when illness or other weaknesses drew you nearer to Him? If you’re a Christian in the fitness industry and you struggle with humility, constantly trying to impress others with perceived strengths, try and remember that our greatest impact on others won’t come when we’re pretentious, but rather when we have a good, tight grip on the obvious: our smallness.

Saved. Alone.

November 24, 2014

“In all things give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:18

peace like a river

Over 100 years ago, a very successful lawyer and real estate mogul, Horatio Spafford, lost a lot in the great Chicago fire of 1870, but years later he lost much, much more. The fire left thousands homeless, and Horatio and his family spent years helping those less fortunate. Exhausted, Horatio and his wife, along with their four daughters planned a cruise to Europe. But just prior to pushing off, Horatio was called upon to stay for business. Still, he sent his family on their much-needed vacation.

The ship – the Ville du Havre – along with his kids, didn’t make it to England. Horatio learned of the tragedy through the now famous and urgent telegram from his wife. It read simply, “Saved. Alone.”

I’m probably not the first person to do a poor job of summarizing the story of Horatio Spafford, but I was reminded of it yesterday while on a walk with my dog, Josey. As I turned a corner, talking to the Lord about my needs and concerns, I came across a homeless woman; mid-thirties, sunburned, sitting next to what looked like years of life in a shopping cart. I smiled, and she called Josey “perty.” As I continued to walk, I thought to myself, “I’m worried about web traffic. She lives in traffic.”

This week is a good reminder to hug those close to us, and to help those less fortunate. And 130 years later, Horatio can help us do just that. You may not recognize his name, but you know his famous hymn. As he boarded a ship to find his wife, he wrote these words:

“It is well with my soul.
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul!”

Good words for us to remember and repeat as we give thanks, if for no other reason than being saved alone.
-Jimmy Peña

 

For Discussion: Saved alone. Is grace sufficient? Truth is -if it were all we had – it would still be enough. On top of it, God allows a lifetime of blessings. Let’s start to name them. For me, I’m thankful for my salvation, my wife, my healing, and all of you. What about you? Give me your top 3 in the comment section. Let’s make a list!

PrayFit Ministries

November 22, 2014

Welcome to PrayFit Ministries, Inc., founded by New York Times Bestselling Author Jimmy Peña.

Please enjoy over 2,500 fitness devotions, wonderful new merchandise and be sure to click PrayFit RISE Los Angeles 2015!

Grow in grace,

Team PrayFit
PRAYFIT COLLAGE 2 hi res

 

High Hopes

November 21, 2014

“Most of us go through life worried that people will think too little of us. Paul went through life worried that people would think too much of him.” – D. Carson

Confession. I was so skinny in high school, I never wore a short-sleeved shirt to class; not one day in 4 years. At least not during regular school hours. And shorts? Probably didn’t own a pair. But then came college, old Russell gym, grad school and years of practice. After that, I wore short sleeves and shorts 365 days a year, rain or shine. As long as I was growing, I was showing. 10592732_754949214547097_4791814665807444189_nI even walked around with a bit of what we called “lat syndrome,” as if I was so wide I’d have trouble fitting through the door. I had a sincere belief that I would be bigger and stronger each week, and I trained with that kind of hope. Even as a Christian, I based much of my satisfaction on my ability to pick heavy things up and set them down and to do it multiple times. Sounds kind of corny to describe it that way, but I glorified in my ability to lift stuff.

But hope changes everything.

I recently read a blurb on social media from someone saying that you can trust the iron, because “Iron will never lie to you, iron is your best friend, and you can trust it, because 200 lbs will always be 200 lbs.” What a commentary. I chuckle a little, because I could have easily written that 20 years ago. Thing is, it’s just not true. We can’t put our trust in a weight we can lift.

Guys, hopefully something you’ve read this week has been a reminder that we don’t base our satisfaction – our hope – in any “thing;” be it the money in our wallets, the cars in the garage, the boat hitched to the trailer (for those of you with boats), or the gifts of diligence in the gym. We can dig and dig and dig and dig, but the well of stuff – even health stuff – is dry. Bone dry. Should we strive to be the best at our calling, absolutely. Work hard? Without a doubt. But the hope on our lips, and in our hearts, and on our minds, can’t be found on the scale, or in the mirror, or under the bar, or the bench, or from the PR (or via the selfie you take in its aftermath.) Our highest hope is in the person of Jesus.

Are you training – living – with that kind of hope?
Jimmy Peña

PrayFit Hoodies In The House:
Hey everyone, I’m so excited to share with you our new hoodies! The softest, highest quality fabrics with the message of grace and faith. Hope they bless you. Something for both the ladies and the gentlemen. Click here, enjoy and thank you for your support of this ministry.

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Hope Tested

November 20, 2014

Hey everyone, I pulled these points from a recent Bible study and created a test of Hope for us.
Ok, please put your Bibles away and keep your eyes on your own lives.
You may begin.c12

True of False:
1. Fulfillment in life does not hinge on our circumstances.
2. Paul discovered that the “secret” to contentment was not found in things, but in a Person.
3. God’s grace is sufficient during adversity.
4. Paul discovered that God’s power is most evident when we are weak.
5. God’s grace is more than sufficient for anything we will encounter.
6. The key to maintaining hope through adversity is to view it as suffering for Christ’s sake.
7. Like Paul’s mission in life, yours is to glorify God through spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ

When it comes to our health specifically, God wants all the attention. Like we saw in yesterday’s entry, He’s the “God of hope” and He delivers all the hope we need when we invite Him into our hearts. I have trouble wrapping my head around that. As believers, we’ve never had more hope than we do at this very moment. What’s easier for me to grasp is the fact that I don’t have faith in it. Truth is, at any given moment of the day, you can find me feeling hopeless about my spine, or my colon issues, or this ministry, or finances, or how “influential” I am, or my future, or…or…my colon issues. (Twice – yes – don’t I know it.)

What about you? Do you find it tough not to focus on circumstances or things? What about during adversity or when you feel weak? But aren’t we blessed, that despite our challenges, when hope is tested, God gets all the attention. I suppose it’s one way to remember that God is near and we can have the “peace that surpasses our understanding”(Phil 4:7). Hope will do that. (Every time.)
Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: How did you do on the test? What’s the one area where perhaps – while you believe all the points above to be TRUE – you feel less than hopeful?

PrayFit Hoodies In The House:
Hey everyone, I’m so excited to share with you our new hoodies! The softest, highest quality fabrics with the message of grace and faith. Hope they bless you. Something for both the ladies and the gentlemen. Click here, enjoy and thank you for your support of this ministry.

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Hope Can Change Everything

November 19, 2014

Hope.

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….

But the Gospel tells a different story. The Bible says that strength comes to those who hope in the Lord. No question there. No sign of doubts. No hint of chance. 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.” Notice that? The God of hope. We have hope, because we have Him.

Are you in need of a sure thing? When dreams allude, health fails 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

If we invite the God of hope into our hearts, He delivers it on impact. He brings hope with Him.
Jimmy Peña

NEW IN STORE:
Hey everyone, I’m so excited to share with you our new hoodies! The softest, highest quality fabrics with the message of grace and faith. Hope they bless you. Something for both the ladies and the gentlemen. Click here, enjoy and thank you for your support of this ministry.

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A Prayer of Hope

November 18, 2014

Yesterday we started living again, breathing again, hoping and running; but not away. And with so many prayer requests, there’s no better place for us to go. Leading us in prayer is Rev. Scotty Smith.

“Dear heavenly Father, my stuffed-up head and slightly sore throat are mere irritants, compared to the health crises many of us face as this day begins. How we long for the Day of no more cancer, no more dementia, no more heart disease, no more respiratory issues, no more Ebola and AIDS, no more disease of any kind—the Day of perfect health.hope

Thank you for the promise of a resurrection body that will never get sick, wear out, or die. Thank you that our life in the new heaven and new earth will not include visits to the ER, health insurance, medical bills, hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care, or funeral homes. Hasten that Day, Father, hasten it.

Until then, we will pray for healing—thankful that Jesus’ finished work has secured the redemption of our whole being—mind, body, and spirit. Though we’d love for you to answer all of our prayers affirmatively, and on our timetable, we will trust and love you when you grant us sufficient grace instead of instant healing (2 Cor. 12:7-12).

Father, we will also seek to take care of these “tents” in which we live (2 Cor. 5:1-5). Thank you for good food, opportunities for exercise, the gift of sleep, clean water—gifts you’ve given us by grace—gifts you intend us to share with others. Indeed, Father, may our suffering make us more sensitive to the sufferings of others. Even as Jesus joyfully fulfilled the law for us, grant us great joy in fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), as we bear one another’s burdens. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and tender name.”

-Rev. Scotty Smith

For Discussion: The hope of glory is what makes this life bearable. Anyone praying for healing, say amen.

Hope Week

November 17, 2014

Remember the scene in Forest Gump when young Forest is being chased by those mean bullies? Classic. “Run Forest!” Well, I love the priceless moment when his leg braces start breaking off and falling to the ground. The look of recognition on his face in that instant – wide-eyed joy, borderline unbelief and unconfined exuberance – I think that’s what hope looks like.Picture-39

The singing, preaching trio of Phillips, Craig and Dean have a few lines in one of their songs that goes, “It’s like I woke up for the first time breathing. It’s like I looked up for the first time seeing. I’m learning to live again. I’m learning to love again. I’m learning to dream again. It’s like I’ve been born again. There’s nothing but open road…I’m saying hello to life…This is what hope feels like.

You guessed it. I’m calling it Hope Week. Sound good? And like young Forest, we’re not looking back. The braces are off. The chains are falling around us and we’re dreaming. We’re free. We’re hard-charging life! The only difference is, we’re not running away.
Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What are we praying about today? What are we hoping in the Lord about? Let’s pray together. If you’d prefer, say “Unspoken” and we promise to pray for you by name. This is the moment. Open road. Hello, life.

 

 

 

Off-Script

November 14, 2014

Hey everyone, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to go off-script as we finish the week. I just got home from the radio panel discussion in Hollywood on “God, Religion and Spirituality” that I mentioned yesterday, and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your outpouring of prayers and encouragement.LWA

I had the pleasure of sitting with some great guys. We simply talked. We were a small trio of men with different lives, beliefs and ideas. I loved the chance to be in the room. Truth is, for a few minutes I forgot about the cameras and the microphone and just talked about who the Lord is to me. I’m not sure how many people they had watching and listening, but I tried to share my heart with the guys that God placed in my path, as well as with the crew watching intently through the glass.

So as we finish the week, I just want to thank you for sharing your hearts and thoughts with me. You were in the room, I assure you. Please join me for a second right now to simply pray for those that heard the message in the studio, on air and online.

Amen. God is good.
Jimmy

 

 

 

If Necessary, Use Words

November 13, 2014

Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

I believe it was Francis of Assisi who said, “Preach Christ. If necessary, use words.” Meaning of course, our actions to an unbelieving world matter more than what we say. Simple truth, amen? But I also believe in order to spread the Gospel in our industry and beyond, we have to speak up too. Gospel truth.good-news1

As Christians in the fitness industry, what an exciting opportunity we have to take God’s message to our individual corners of the world. Without a doubt, someone is listening to your actions and to mine. Among 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. Perhaps your dependence on the Lord during an illness has been an inspiration to others to help them lean on God during their pain. Some are also watching what your life says about things like pride, humility, even modesty. In an industry with no shame, you — the Christian in the gym — roar when you don’t compromise. Fact is, 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. Our one chance to preach Christ 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. Let’s preach Christ, even if it means use words. (And when we have the chance, let’s speak up.)

–Jimmy Peña

A Prayer Request: Speaking of using words, I need your prayers today guys. I’ve been asked to join a panel discussion in Hollywood today. It’s a live broadcast in a very mainstream, extremely secular environment. Great people and producers have graciously invited me to sit and discuss faith, God, “spirituality and religion” with a panel of others with various beliefs. I’ve been told I’ll be the only Christian. I don’t hesitate to say this is an opportunity to share Jesus with an unbelieving audience. Pray for my words, please. Thanks everyone.- JP