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Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.

Today is twenty-five days, which is three weeks and four days of the Omer.

During this week of counting the Omer, the attribute for us is Netzach which is translated as eternity, conquest, or victory. Other words that may be associated with "netzach" are ambition, tenacity. Endurance produces reliability, accountability, commitment and security. Without the motivation to endure through tough times, hardships to accomplish a goal, there is a good chance that the endeavor will be unsuccessful.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12 NIV

Our son's football team works harder than any team I have ever been associated with. The team's strength and agility coach is a dynamic five-foot tall lady, who commands the attention and respect of these high school men as if she was seven feet tall! She has singlehandedly changed my son's diet, attitude toward work and all the while covering him in love and acceptance. There are no cookies in my house anymore, only occasionally am I allowed to buy ice cream which is only when college brothers come home as a special treat.

Mrs. Coach is the first to yell at them on the field, and has even been know to yell at the stands when we were too quiet. She demands their very best every single day, meeting them well before school starts, even though she has small children. My son believes he is letting her and his team down if he doesn't show for these early work-outs. For the past three years, this she has motivated our team to greatness. Our players endure her strenuous workouts, sacrifice the desire for junk food and an extra hour of sleep each night. Why? Because they desire success on the field! Each player recognizes this incredible lady knows what is best for them, loves them, and she sees the victory that is within them, individually and corporately.

Our school team has only been playing 11-man football for 3 years, but each year they defeat their opponents, not because they are bigger, more athletic or more talented, but because they endure! When it is 100 degrees on a September night and these guys are in full pads, running, tackling, defending, always pressing forward; they do not wilt. Their opponents are huffing and puffing, cramping, requesting time outs for extra water breaks with helmets off to catch their breath, but not those who have been trained by Mrs. Coach. Our team waits patiently, helmets on, standing, ready to go again, and again, and again.

Endurance means to be driven toward a goal. The readiness to fight for what you want, believe in, and ready strive, giving your best to the very end. Without commitment to something or someone, the likely hood the goal will be reached is near impossible. The belief that nothing will deter you from finishing the race, game, or reaching your goal and being ready to go the distance, face any obstacle and overcome the difficulties will enable you to endure and achieve that success.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

My son says the best feeling is waking up tired Saturday morning, a little sore, a little beat up, but knowing that he and his teammates did everything they could, together, to be victorious. Their success does not come because they simply wished it to happen, prayed for good results, are nice guys, or demonstrated good sportsmanship. While all of that is true. The victory comes because they are better prepared, stronger and have endured the training during the offseason to play hard every minute on the game clock.

Endurance requires five ingredients: love, discipline, commitment, sacrifice, and humility. Someone who will endure the struggles in a game or life, will love those to whom he/she is associated with, exercises discipline to do the things that are hard, committed to finishing the race or reaching the goal, willing to sacrifice smaller rewards in order to reach a bigger prize, all while remaining humble to learn new things promoting growth. The problem most people have with endurance is they lack of one or more of these components.

Almighty God, Heavenly Abba Father, we know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize, and we desire to run in such a way as to get the prize You have set before us. Everyone who competes in games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV) May we endure the obstacles and hardships of this life to glorify You. Lead us in a life that prepares us for Your Kingdom. Train us in such a way that You receive all glory and honor from our efforts. Let us express gratitude for those around us that spur us on, come along side us to encourage us and to be Your voice when we want to give up. Bless the coaches in our lives and help us pick up our brother when he falls. Thank you for Your provisions in our life. Amen

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