This week I officially join the ranks of the “middle aged”, and will be 60.  And I rejoice in doing so, because in 1993 the devil tried to kill me with melanomas and liver cancer.   I can only credit that to the goodness of God, and the surety of His promises, in that His word said I was healed, in spite of what my body was doing to the contrary.  I believed His word and started speaking and acting like it, ever since then the fruit of it has been in evidence, and I’ve never been sick again.  Imagine being my age and feeling like 20.  Before I go to bed at night, I like to do a few squats….say 150 or 200.  Can your 18 year old do that?  God doesn’t want us all broke down and sick and hurting.  Our Lord Jesus came to earth to relieve our suffering, not put it on us.  Yes, we have to grow older, but we can be healthy and strong by doing it God’s way.

        God has given us many wonderful promises in the Bible. There are promises of salvation, healing, blessings, prosperity, peace, joy, wisdom, and all other kinds of good things.  Some of them have conditions attached, and before we are quick to claim the promises for ourselves, we need to look at all the “Ifs, ands, and buts”.  Over the years, many have laid claim to one promise or another, then after not seeing it fulfilled in their lives, have come to believe that God does not keep His promises.  Just for the record, God DOES keep His promises.  However, when a promise has a condition to be met first, don’t assume you can just walk in and lay claim to those promises because God is a God of grace.  He’s also a God of doing things by the book, as you will find out, if you haven’t already.  Let’s look at an example here in Genesis 12:1-3 about a promise made to Abraham.  We like to claim the promises of Abraham, let’s see what that involved for him;

1. Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

            The first condition I see here is “AND”.  Do you see it?  God told Abram to leave his country and his kindred and his father’s house, going unto the land that God would show him.  That was Abram’s part of the bargain.  It required obedience, not just claiming the promise.  That’s where we use “faith” in error.  Even “faith” has conditions that must be met.  Moving on;

AND then, God would fulfill verses 2 and 3, not before, but after Abram obeyed.   Some want to lay claim to the promises without obedience.  Do you see it? That’s where many fail with their “faith”, in that they lack “obedience”. 

            Another conditional word we find in the Bible many times is “IF”.  How often we find we are stopped cold in our tracks by such a little word.  One of the best examples concerning the blessings of God that I know of is found in Deuteronomy chapter 28:1-14.  These are some of the best material blessings found in the whole Bible.  And many who consider themselves a Christian lay claim to these promises.  However, many just can’t understand why they aren’t seeing these blessings manifested in their lives.  I can tell you why; they aren’t paying attention to the “IF” that is written in Deut 28:1-2,  And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

            Instead of blaming God for failing to bless us, we need to spend more time reading the “small print” in the contract, so to speak.

 If you read Deut 28:1-14 you will see a lot of blessings are available here, and certainly we would like to have them.  And God wants us to have the blessings, else He would not have made them available to us.  But He also wants obedient children.  What parent doesn’t?

            Now, let’s go on.  There’s another small word we need to consider that has tremendous effect on our lives: “BUT”.  Looking farther down in the same chapter, we come to verses 15 through 68, which have a whole lot of stuff we DON’T want to happen to us.  Verse 15 starts with “BUT”, which means, contrary to, or “If you don’t”,  

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

So right now, stop and consider the life you are now living. 

         Are you living in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, or are you living in Deuteronomy 28:15-68?  Only you know the honest answer to that question.  And only you can do something about it.   God has laid out the plans and conditions for your blessings.  You can’t blame your spouse, or your kids, or your Pastor, or God, if you are not living in them.  The choice is yours, and yours alone. 

        An example of that is what I hear from people I pray with and minister to from time to time.  I’ll tell them the Bible says they are healed by the stripes of Jesus.  And they will say, “Yeah, but the doctor says…”  And their “but” gets in the way of them receiving anything from God.  That’s not God’s fault.  He provided the cure.   “But”, we provide the excuses not to take it. 

             I would beseech you to pay close attention to the “IF, AND, BUT” parts of the promises.  They are not in there by accident, but by the plan of God, to draw you unto Him.   If there are “adjustments” you need to make in your life to be able receive God’s promises to you, then by all means do so!  God has already laid out the conditions of His promises, and He will not change, so that means if there’s any changing to be done, it will have to be on OUR part.  Don’t let disobedience, stubbornness, or unbelief keep you out of all God has for you.   He didn’t create all His blessings just to leave them sitting on a shelf somewhere unused.  He wants YOU to have them, but you must follow the instructions.  Read the Book. Then just do it.