Epilogue

December 19, 2014

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” If you missed any of the week’s “Les Mis” entries, I hope you take a few minutes to go back and review them. I wrote “What Prison?” “Who am I?” “There is a Life About To Start” and “One Day More”  just for you. (And I had so much fun doing it.) I realize not everyone has read the story, watched the play or been able to take in the movie, but hopefully you’re inspired to watch it this Christmas. Neat scenes of grace, I tell you.

Next week we’ll be taking a few days off for the Christmas break, but we’ll be working on some great things for 2015, including a brand new website! And on Tuesday next week, the paperback version of my latest book hits bookstores everywhere. We’re so blessed to be able to provide such a neat resource. If you don’t have yours yet, click the book and it will take you directly to it on Amazon. And tell others please. (Help this little book hit the NYTimes list!) It’s filled with grace and stories of Biblical faith and an incredible meal plan with recipes designed by Dana White of the Food Network. It’s a perspective-infused teaching tool for healthy eating. I hope you get yours today.

So have a great, great weekend everyone. I’ll be in touch over the next 10 days with news and updates and please follow me on social media. The Lord bless you guys. It’s my life’s honor to serve you. Keep growing in grace. – Jimmy

paperback

 

 

 

 

One Day More

December 18, 2014

“One day more. Another day, another destiny. This never-ending road to Calvary.” Jean Valjean lived to see another day, and he lived to see his place in glory. In the end, he joined his heroes. He discovered what God in Heaven had in store. In a week that could have been written to go a thousand directions, I hope something you’ve read about Les Mis has inspired hope in some area of your life and health.

“Just have a seat, Jimmy. The doctor will see you shortly.” Many of you know because you were praying for me that I had an MRI yesterday to determine the fate of a 5th disk. Well, as I sat in the waiting room, I ran across a retweet of someone quoting a popular fitness athlete who said, “No one and nothing can stop you from getting fit if you truly want to.” (Oh to hear Jean Valjean’s reply to that statement.)design 2

Anyway, not sure how many “likes” she’ll get on her wisdom, but I doubt she’s ever visited a cancer wing or walked the halls of a children’s hospital, and I know for certain she doesn’t have a spinal disorder. I tell ya, sometimes pride makes us say the ugliest things. Truth is, you don’t always get what you work for. But you always know WHO you work for, and that’s the difference. Guys, if you have health, it’s a gift. Treasure it, use it, enjoy it, give thanks for it, and thrive. But you can’t applaud Heaven while beating your chest.

Anyway, she needs grace just like the rest of us. Just like me, just like you. Jean Valjean-like Grace. Speaking of, turns out I get to keep that 5th disk a little while longer. I have another day. One day more. Another day, another destiny. My never-ending road to Calvary. Isn’t it something? We’re called to care for bodies that are designed to fail. What a humble honor. Some days just feel more humbling than others.
Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I love you guys for all of your prayers yesterday. I read each one. More importantly, God heard each one. Thank you.

There Is A Life About To Start

December 17, 2014

Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.

If you know this song, it has a particular cadence. Yes indeed. Grace has a certain beat. And it builds.

Scotty Smith once wrote, “Lord, thank you for giving me back the control that I had given to others over my heart.” Amen and amen. “Others” can be people, insecurities, jealousies, (insert your “others” here). When we get out of step when it comes to our relationship with the Lord – much like when we get out of our physical groove – our hearts tend to miss the beat. Nothing is more paralyzing to our souls than being out of God’s will. Shame sets in like rust to a gear.

But thankfully, Jesus paid our sin debt which means God loves us as much as He ever has or ever will. And He’ll never love us less regardless of how good or bad we act. In fact, God loves us as much as He does His own Son because our lives are hidden in His. And that’s what I mean about grace having a certain beat. We can count on it. It is life’s inexhaustible incentive and our eternal metronome. Jean Valjean sang his music like a man who would not be a slave again, and he did so with the fight of his life!

Guys, the closer we get to the Lord – each day nearer to Heaven – the greater the unmistakable echo grows. We may be fitness-minded, sure, but we’re marching in the crusade nonetheless. Let’s give all we can as we join the fight. Hearts under His control. Stand with me as I stand with you. We have a banner to advance.
Jimmy Peña

Prayer Request: By the time many of you read this, I will be in an MRI. Symptoms have prompted my surgeon to determine the fate of a 5th disk. Just help me pray for clear pictures and clear heads (the clear head part is for me.) Much love. Banner waving. Free. Do you hear me singing?

 

 

 

Who Am I?

December 16, 2014

For his entire life, Jean Valjean ran. From his past, from guilt, shame, and from his accuser, Javert. Javert – who preferred to address Valjean by his prison-issued convict #24601 – made it his life’s purpose to never let Valjean forget the past, the guilt, the shame and the law he broke.

And in a terrible struggle with himself, Valjean faced his darkest fears by remembering who he was and where his strength came from. He goes to court to free an innocent man by revealing that he himself is the one the law pursues. He admits his guilt. He stops running. (Enter genuine freedom.)

Who am I?
Can I condemn this man to slavery
Pretend I do not feel his agony
This innocent who bears my face
Who goes to judgement in my place
Who am I?
How can I ever face my fellow men?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on
Who am I? Who am I?
I am Jean Valjean!

Chills just typing that. Jean Valjean defined himself by the One his soul belonged to; not by staying silent or claiming innocence. Freedom happens for us when grace happens to us; when we face the fact that we are nothing unless we accept Jesus and admit our sin. And His extended grace is what makes life possible. It’s how we forgive others, love others, pursue life, and yes, it even defines our pursuit of health. You are not defined by your fitness or your illness. But rather, your health is worth the effort, your modesty is worth the privacy, your illness is worth the pain, and your struggles are worth the agony, because God says who you are; His. So stop running. Turn, face your accuser and answer the question.
Jimmy Peña

Have a good Tuesday. Be blessed.

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What Prison?

December 15, 2014

Meet Jean Valjean. A just-relased prisoner. A vagabond with a past. No room in the inn. Nobody to take him in. Until he knocks on the door of a bishop named Monseigneur Myriel. Valjean tells the bishop his story and the bishop gives him a seat at his table, feeds him and provides a roof.

Valjean, however, just can’t wrap his head around forgiveness. It’s too much for him. Restless in the still of the night, he proceeds to steal what little the bishop had and rushes out into the dark. He doesn’t get far.

Police: “Monseigneur. We have your silver. We caught this man red-handed. He had the nerve to say you gave him this.”

Bishop: “That is right. But my friend. You left so early. Surely something slipped your mind. You forgot, I gave these also. Would you leave the best behind?”

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to hoist the story of Les Misérables as one of the best tales of grace ever written. The things that Jean Valjean endures, and builds, and creates, and struggles through are too much to fill a week’s worth of devotions. But like us, Valjean had a choice. Believe his accuser and be chained to his past, or trust his forgiver and live a life of victory; choose to stare into the whirlpool of his sin or let another story begin.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll begin answering questions like “Who Am I?” and “Has Life Started?” as it relates to the stewardship of health. But for today, here’s a question I’d love for you to answer. Are we breathing, living, forgiving, working, striving and training for results? Or are we breathing, living, forgiving, working, striving and training AS as result? One is fleeting. The other, endless. One has limits. The other, limitless.

Isn’t it amazing? Grace didn’t simply give Jean Valjean the key to his chains, nor did it merely open the jail’s door. Grace said, “What prison?”

Welcome to a week of Les Mis.

Jimmy

 

 

 

 

PrayFit Update!

December 12, 2014

I think it’s time for a theme, amen? And to that end, I’m introducing all new devotions next week with “Les Miserables” helping fulfill that need. If there has ever been a story with a message of grace, it’s Victor Hugo’s Les Mis. Unashamedly, the latest version starring Hugh Jackman is my second favorite movie theatre experience of all-time. I highly recommend it and I highly hope you check in next week for our daily devotions and time together.

And seeing as it’s Friday, I do have a few housekeeping items to mention and celebrate. First, thank you for helping make the new PrayFit App a massive success. So many of you are finding it extremely helpful in reading the devotions, and you’re digging the new features. Personally, the audio Bible has been such a blessing for my quiet times. The wonderful narration of the gospel is so helpful. I’ve taken Louie Giglio’s challenge, and I am trying to memorize the book of Colossians. Our audio Bible is helping!

Secondly, my latest book, “The PrayFit Diet” is about to hit bookstores in paperback form. It’s so cool, and it’s available everywhere books are sold on Dec. 23rd including Barnes & Noble, Family Christian, as well as Target and Walmart.paperback

I don’t do a lot of promotion of my products on social media or on the site, but I sure do hope you get this one. Grounded in grace and endorsed by Pastor Randy Frazee of Oak Hills Church (with Max Lucado), Terry Crews of The Expendables and Congressman Aaron Schock.

And what’s awesome is the 33-day food plan – of perfectly proportioned days of protein, fats and carbs – (recipes designed by Dana White of The Food Network ) pairs nicely with our 33-Day at-home DVD series by my digital partner and producer Lionsgate Entertainment.

Greatly blessed to have such an incredible team surrounding PrayFit and to have friends who love me and who love the message inside. Click the book to get your copy. I hope it blesses your life.

You’ll forgive the long entry, but it’s important I share these resources with you. I’ll see you Monday for Les Mis Week. Grow in grace. – Jimmy Peña

Me and My Drum

December 11, 2014

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, working as unto the Lord, not for men.” –Colossians 3:23

Turns out PrayFit has a theme song — a song that sums up PrayFit perfectly. My wife and friends might guess it’s a Rocky montage, but alas, no. I have one better. The Little Drummer Boy. (Pa rum pum pum pum)…mysuccessstory

Why? Cause I got nothin. I’m like the little drummer boy, “I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a King.” But because of grace, He smiles at me when I play. But what brings that smile isn’t how well I do, or how “fit” physically or spiritually I pretend to be while I do it, or even my effort, my grit, my stamina, endurance through my illness or strength (or better yet, my lack thereof)…

It’s His grace, because He sees Himself in my heart. And that’s what I want to brag about. (1 Cor. 1:31) I want to brag about Him. And that smile He gives me because of grace? That’s why I bring it. That’s why I bring the effort. That’s why I play for Him. Play my best for Him. And if that effort produces temporary results, I lay them down when I’m done. Me and my drum. They’re His. Cause I got nothin.

–Jimmy Peña

FOR DISCUSSION: Speak this song out loud before you start your day. Before you close this page, hit the office, the gym, the road. Say it or sing it. Then answer the questions below.

“Come they told me, a newborn King to see.
Our finest gifts we bring, to set before the King.
Little baby, I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give a King.
Shall I play for you on my drum? Then He nodded…
I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him.
Then He smiled at me. Me and my drum.”

Question: What is your offering today? And what is your favorite line in the song?

Be Born In Us

December 10, 2014

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”
— Matthew 2:10

If you missed Christmas Presence yesterday, we talked about the shepherds and their efforts to see the newborn King. We agreed that their best was all they had to offer Him — our pacesetters if you will, and they made it. Can’t you just see their cold breath and chests rising as they arrive? But today, let’s focus on the one who didn’t run. 12-Mary-PSThough she trembled when she was told of the miracle, Mary waited for the promise.

As I write this, a song by Francesca Battistelli called Born In Me is ringing in my ears. The chorus:

I’ll hold you in the beginning,
you will hold me in the end.
Every moment in the middle,
make my heart your Bethlehem,
be born in me.

Isn’t that what we want? For our hearts to be His Bethlehem? Born in us? When you and I walk into work or school or the gym; when we make dinner for the kids or visit a neighbor, we hold Him. We’re His home on earth. Mary offered to God what she was denied at the inn: a vacancy. The shepherds offered to God the only thing they could: an audience.

As Christmas nears, let the ones who ran to Him, and the one who didn’t run from Him, give us courage to do both.

–Jimmy Peña

Prayer Requests: Will you pray for me today? I’m delivering my last lecture of the year at Pepperdine University. Thanks everyone. And if you have a prayer request, please list it here or say “unspoken” and I, the team and the rest of the readers will pray for you by name. Grow in grace.

Christmas Presence

December 9, 2014

“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).ChristmasPresesnce_600x360

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 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.

Misfits Seldom Do

December 8, 2014

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” –1 Corinthians 1:27

If he were your neighbor, you’d move. If choosing teams, he’d be the last one picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he’d be king. But he didn’t care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.go-against-the-flow

Friends, our bodies are tools. In the end, they get us from life’s A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So as we begin to prepare our hearts to celebrate His birth, let’s add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It’s doubtful. But then again, the only attention that’s really important is the attention you’re paying to God and honoring Him with the body He designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you’ll be in good company when you don’t fit in. Misfits seldom do.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I may be IN the fitness industry, but I’m not OF the fitness industry. What are some other ways you can be a misfit – in God’s will – when it comes to your role in the health and fitness world?

Thank you: I want to thank all of you for your prayers, thoughts and emails last week concerning the passing of my “Tocayo” Uncle Edward. I sincerely appreciate you all for being so thoughtful.