September 14, 2020
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Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming Adversity

My brothers and sisters, I have the best news you could ever have or hear: Jesus is Lord over all! Jesus is Lord over the past, present and future! Jesus loves us passionately, completely, unconditionally! Jesus will never abandon us! Jesus conquers sin, the enemy, sickness, fear, anxiety and anything else blocking us from loving Him unconditionally!

Where I live in California, we are currently in a second “lockdown” phase of the COVID-19 adventure. We also see unrest in our streets. People call or email me stressed and worried. They don’t know what to do. I tell them that the answer is only in Jesus.

Seek Jesus every second of every day. This is the key to overcoming adversity, problems and anxiety. It doesn’t mean that every problem will disappear but it means we have the strength and courage to endure whatever is happening!

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

How do we get more of Jesus? We must ask and expect Him to fill our hearts and souls!

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

How many of you appreciate 100 percent guarantees? I now give you a 100 percent guarantee: Jesus is waiting for you to ask Him into your life. He is waiting with His arms open for you to fall into them and say “Abba,” daddy. Let us surrender ourselves to Him.

Take control of your mind. In order to win the war against anxiety it is critical that you realize that the battle is in your mind.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

It can feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. How am I going to pay my bills? My savings are rapidly shrinking, what should I do? Will I lose my job? If I get sick who will take care of my family? These are just a few of the thoughts attacking us. Jesus told us that we would have problems in life.

John 16:33 “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Read this another time and read it slowly, letting the words enter your heart and soul. Now read it out loud. What do the words say to you? Do you really believe that Jesus has overcome the world? Do you have in your heart that Jesus is greater than any problem we have?

In order to win this battle of your mind, you must train yourself on only thinking of things that will be positive and build you up.

Avoid the negative. Listen to the words of Jesus. Read the Bible, listen to praise music, go to an outdoor Mass, read on the internet about the saints, praise God in your prayer life and focus on the positive. 

Put on hope as a mantle. God is the God of hope. It is hope that Jesus is in charge that gives you strength. You will get through this current situation! Let Jesus give you strength and recognize that He will supply all your needs, and that of your family, according to His riches and glory!

Philippians 4:13, 19 “I can do all things in him who strengthens me… And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

What about the future? How can I trust it? In God we trust and believe and our future is full of hope!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know what plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me with all your heart.”

God is the God of hope. The enemy wants to take our joy away from us. Let the Holy Spirit give us hope. It is this hope that will lead to joy!

Pray fervently and on an ongoing basis. Prayer changes things. Most of us now have time that we haven’t had before. This is a time to pray and get closer to Christ. Find a place in your home that is quiet and perhaps sacred to you. This is the time to be one with Jesus in prayer! Pray with faith and believe that you will receive it. God will fill you with His peace and joy!

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.”

Expective Faith. Jesus wants us to have faith as big as a mustard seed. How do we get more faith? We ask for it. We learn in the second chapter of Ephesians that faith is a gift. We must ask for the Holy Spirit to release the faith that we received at Baptism.

Luke 11:9-10 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Today, more than ever, ask for faith. We need faith to endure the trial we are under. It is faith that will allow us to endure the challenges we face.

Let joy fill your heart. Joy stands for “Jesus Over You.” Joy is a condition, not a circumstance. Happiness depends upon circumstances that come and go. When we achieve something we desire, we are happy. In most cases, we then move on to something else that we pray for and want, never truly satisfied. With joy, we need nothing more because we have Jesus.

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that you joy may be full.”

It is joy that gets us through the challenges of this time. It is joy that will give us strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Expect and experience miracles. This is one of my favorite things I say. In fact, I wrote a book by that title! One of the most important realities is that the more we have faith and expect God to act, the more that miracles happen in our lives. The definition of a miracle is “God’s supernatural intervention in our lives.” How many of you believe that God has caused miracles to occur in your lives?

We don’t see and experience miracles because we don’t ask, as the book of James tells us. I have total faith that in this time of trial we will have more miracles in our life than any time before now. Do you believe?

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Written by
Deacon Steve Greco