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Summary: In order to capitalize on the chances we are given we need to ask the Spirit of God to control every part of our mind, will, and emotions. Ask the Lord to help you avoid missing out on any good thing by asking God to fill every thought with the Lord’s des

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1. Many Christians fail to realize they must keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit if they do not want to be a loser. Paul wrote, "Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:16-18) In order to capitalize on the chances we are given we need to ask the Spirit of God to control every part of our mind, will, and emotions.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you avoid missing out on any good thing by asking God to fill every thought with the Lord’s desires.

2. Jesus realized that many believers can lose the Spirit’s blessings when they fall back into their worldly habits. Jesus said, "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26)

Application: Ask the Lord to help you avoid becoming a victim to conditions far worse than you have ever known because of disobedience, distrust or naive behavior.

3. Jesus taught that losers are people who know the right things to do, but still fail to do them. One day Jesus came to an invalid and said, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." But the man replied, "The man who made me well said to me,

‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ So they asked him, ‘Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?’ The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (John 5:8-15)

Application: There are two winners and one group of losers in this narrative. Jesus came out a winner because He showed faith, love and obedience to the Lord in extending healing to a man desperate for God’s deliverance - despite the persecutions he knew would result.

The healed invalid was a winner because he believed and acted on what the Lord Jesus told him to do. The legalistic Jews were the losers for several reasons: first, they regarded their laws as more important than showing compassion to a poor invalid, second, they accused Jesus and the invalid of breaking one of their Sabbath laws without realizing that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, third, they were made to look foolish in the eyes of the public for being more concerned about proper procedures than the welfare of members of the disabled community, fourth, they continued to practice self-righteous judgment when only God is perfectly able to judge impartially, factually and with total authority, fifth, they failed to understand that human control over other people for manipulative reasons is displeasing to the Lord.

Sixth, they failed to appreciate the gravity of continuing to try to please men rather than God. Ask the Lord to help you avoid all of the errors of these legalistic Jews.

4. The Holy Spirit wants us to understand the importance of seeking repentance and forgiveness for our sins. Jesus said to the invalid, "Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (John 5:14)

Many people have failed to realize that it is wrong to harbor any sin in their heart: sins of commission, sins of omission, sins of wrong attitudes, sins of wrong assumptions about God or men. Several individuals have failed to forgive others in their hearts and consequently experienced a loss of fellowship with the Lord. Jesus said, "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt. 6:15)

Application: Consistently ask the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins and be willing to forgive others. Also, be willing to forgive anyone for their sins - including yourself, or you will place your self in the dangerous position as a loser of God’s forgiveness, power and fellowship.

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