Greetings to you everyone!
I am excited to be writing the first of seven messages of a brand new series titled “What’s God’s Plan For Me?”, and I’m really excited to reintroduce this blog that will from now on be known simply as bryankizer.com. It will still be affiliated and likely re-blogged by Pastor B’s Ministry, but I am hoping that this blog will become more personal and less preachy.
The first series I believe is an important one because I believe it will set the tone for where God is leading me to go with this blog, and I’m glad to be getting started on it now so that it gives me a bit of a running start into the new year. I’m hoping that these changes will help the blog’s outreach, but as always I still write each and every message is if the Lord is the one Reader I’m going to have because this is really about an act of worship and service to the One that called me.
So, now that all of that is out-of-the-way, let’s get into this first message, and see what the Lord has to say to us about living “A Chosen Life”…and what it has to do with God’s Plan for our lives.
Let me just say that I hope that y’all are taking the opportunity to read the scriptures. It’s really more important that you read what the Word of God has to say, Amen!?!
A Chosen Life
What do you think about when you hear the phrase “A Chosen Life”?
If you’re like me, I wonder why a scripture like Romans 12:1-2 would be part of a message about the chosen life until you realize just how important it is that we have a renewed mind and that our mind isn’t renewed by just anything…but that it’s renewed by extensive study and good, solid teaching from the Word of God.
In short. it’s important that the Bible is doing the renewing of our minds because it’s through revelation of Scripture that we get to know the God of the Bible, we come to understand that this God in the Bible loves us and has a plan for our lives, and that it’s really not that difficult to find out what that plan is…because it’s written in the Bible.
Most people scoff at me when I tell them that God ordained me as a pastor. I have never been to a Bible college, I don’t have a preaching degree from Oral Roberts University, but what I do have is the call of God on my life, the anointing of God to write messages like the one you’re getting ready to read, and I’ve been ordained by God as a pastor and He did that through a special passage of Scripture.
“The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever.” – Psalm 28:8-9 (NKJV)
Those verses may not mean a lot to you, but when I read them God was speaking directly to my heart about how I am one of His anointed, and that He was anointing me and ordaining me to “shepherd” those whom He was entrusting to my care.
Shepherd can be translated to being another word for pastor. Most people know that pastor’s shepherd their flock (or congregation). The crazy thing is my congregation is spread out all over the world, and I’ve been chosen by God to use my ability to write these message to reach people all over the world.
The significance of this is that before I read those verses I was praying and asking God for quite a while to show me in His word the ministry office or title He wanted me to have because I didn’t want to choose it on my own. I know that a lot of people ordain and anoint themselves into ministry positions God never ordained or anointed them to be in, and I didn’t want to be that guy…so instead I asked God…and He took me to Psalm 28:8-9 to show me.
God chose you to live differently from the rest of the world. Right now, you might wonder about all the fun so many people enjoy as they party, accumulate romantic partners, chase money and fame, and essentially live for pleasure. Scripture teaches a different way to live.
So, one of the things I wanted to do with this blog is tell more of my personal story, and testimony. The Bible says that we overcome by the Word of God, and our testimony. The idea is something I got from my own church in that when testimonies are shared it stirs faith in those that hear or read those testimony’s that if God can do what He did in someone else’s life…He can do the same thing in your life or my life or whose ever life He wants, Amen.
My story begins with a grandmother that introduced me to Jesus by introducing me to Jimmy Swaggart. I can remember all the way back to being no older than 6 or 7 years old, sitting on the edge of the bed with my grandma looking out the bedroom window, and telling her that I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart…so I did.
However, my story begins before that. No, I’m not going to write about how before the foundations of the earth God knew me and formed me in my mother’s womb, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (even though I just wrote that anyways), but I am going to tell you that same grandmother did something similar to what Samuel’s mother did. She prayed before I was even born that God would use me for His glory, and I guess what I’m doing today is the answer to that prayer.
The point being, there was a line of demarcation drawn around me by God before I ever took my first breath, and I didn’t fully understand that I had been set apart and chosen by God until just a few years ago when I began to understand the reason why I never really fit in anywhere.
I grew up never really fitting in. I went to school never finding a crowd to call my own. I wasn’t smart enough to be with the nerds, I wasn’t athletic enough to get into sports, I wasn’t rebellious enough to hang out with the stoners, I wasn’t popular enough to hang out with the popular kids, and by now I think you get the idea that when I say I didn’t fit in anywhere what I mean by that.
In fact, if I’m being really honest…I didn’t even fit in with my own family. I grew up in a verbally and physically abusive home, and I should also point out that there wasn’t a whole lot of warmth, love or affection in my home. I suppose I probably was loved, but I have to be honest enough about all of this today and say that I don’t know for sure if anyone (other than my grandmother) really loved me…and obviously the Lord…but I didn’t really know that until just a few years ago either.
So…I didn’t know it, but God had chosen me to live differently from the world that I have tried so hard to fit in to. I never really understood why until probably 2001 when the Lord gave me the name Christlike Ministries. As some of y’all may recall that was the name I originally launched my ministry under, but the whole point of what I’m saying here is that God set me a part before February 13, 1974 ever came.
The thing is, even after God began to start revealing things to me none of it really fell into place until God completely changed my life in November of 2010. That was when I heard the Lord speak to my heart that He loved me, and that His love wasn’t just something I knew about…but it was something that I actually knew.
I’ve had a few sweet encounters with the Lord before then, and I have had many more sweet encounters with the Lord since then…but November 15, 2010 was the day that God brought a lot of the random revelation He’d been giving me over the years to light…and as I mentioned it stopped being head knowledge…and started filtering down and making the 9 inch journey from my brain into my heart.
I still try to fit in with the world I’ve been set apart from some times, and every time I do it winds up hurting me in a way that reminds me that there’s a reason I don’t fit in with the world…and that reason is that I’m suppose to be in the world…but not of it because I am a citizen of the Kingdom. I’m a peculiar person, a foreigner passing through a foreign world, and one day my King is going to come find me and bring me home.
So…what does A Chosen Life look like… (by the way you can follow along with this devotional at https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/13050-what-is-gods-plan-for-me-7-invitations-to-the-life)
A chosen life—lived so differently from the rest of the world—will forever hold the truth that apart from God, we have “no good thing” (Ps. 16:2). It will forever know how our sorrow and suffering will increase if we chase after anything other than God. It will forever know that abundant life comes through Jesus Christ and not any other pleasure we might pursue. A chosen life is a surrendered life, a life that exalts Jesus Christ and follows Him in obedience (even if the culture disagrees).
A chosen life will forever know how our sorrow and suffering will increase if we chase after anything other than God…and there lies the reason why life has hurt me so many times because I have honestly chased after other things than God.
I chased after love. Until now, I haven’t had a relationship last longer than 3 years, and many of those relationships I had weren’t monogamous relationships. I really wasn’t faithful because I didn’t know how to be faithful, and I also didn’t know that I was chasing something that could only be found in Christ Jesus.
I have never really known what love was or how to give love in return because I never really experienced love. I experienced what I thought was love or the love that people were capable of giving me…but there’s a very real revelation that literally just came to me as I was re-reading this message that I other than Jesus, my grandmother, my wife, and my daughter I have never actually known or experienced or understood what love was…did…or looks like because I never saw what it was. I never knew what warm and affectionate love was because I never got it…and so it’s always been kind of hard for me to give that kind of love because I didn’t have the feelings to relate to how it was supposed to look or feel.
I chased after meaning. This is one of those things that I am still chasing at times because I never really developed a passion for anything so I never really had that “I want to be a” moment when I was a kid. I enlisted in and became a United States Marine, but I really didn’t have any idea of what kind of job or vocation I would like because I literally joined right out of high school. If I’m being honest, I joined to run away from home more than I joined because I wanted to be a Marine…and because of that it didn’t take long for me to ruin the greatest opportunity of my life.
Since then I have rarely held a job for longer than a couple of years because I either get bored with the job or I am not as committed to the job because I’m not really passionate about it or I choose a job without asking if it’s a job that God even wants me to have.
Is this okay!?! Man, this stuff is really personal, but I think it’s what God wants me to do. I couldn’t write hardly anything in my Countdown to Thanksgiving series because there wasn’t an anointing or flow to what I was writing, but since I’ve sat down to write this I haven’t stopped other than to let the dog out and to get something to drink and in a moment to check on my little girl to make sure she’s sleeping and okay after a bit of a coughing fit.
Anyone that has followed me or read my posts knows that I have learned that the abundant life has very little to do with material and monetary wealth. Even the church has gotten on the bandwagon of using John 10:10 to talk about how God wants us to prosper and doesn’t want us to be poor and while I don’t have a “poverty mentality” I also don’t buy into the prosperity gospel that says if you have enough faith you won’t ever be broke again…that’s another message for another time…but I’ve learned exactly what they’re talking about in this devotional.
The abundant life only comes through a life with Christ. The abundant life to me is about finding that contentment that Paul found, and about discovering that you are rich with the things that money can’t buy…and most of the things money can’t buy are the fruits of the spirit that cannot be purchased…they only come by maturing in our relationship with Jesus and walking in the Spirit.
Money may be able to buy a little bit of happiness, but it cannot purchase joy. Money might be able to buy a little bit of lust, but it cannot purchase love. Money can buy you peace of mind, but it cannot buy you the peace that surpasses all understanding because THAT peace only comes once again through Christ Jesus and having a right relationship with Him because without having a right relationship with Him it’s impossible to actually have peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace…and without Him the only thing we really have is false peace so in reality money really cannot buy peace.
Are you getting the point!?! That’s why Jesus said that you can’t serve both Him and money at the same time. It’s not wrong to have money or desire money…it’s wrong when money has you. Thinking about the man who was saddened by the fact that Jesus told him in order to follow Jesus he’d have to sell all his stuff to follow Jesus. As we all know what we treasure in our hearts is what we will invest our time and money in to.
A chosen life is a surrendered life, a life that exalts Jesus Christ and follows Him in obedience (even if the culture disagrees).
There really isn’t much to add here. Most of you that have followed me for any length of time know that I live (or at least try to live) my life and operate this ministry by one simple motto: Obey what God says and trust Him with the results.
This message is an example of my obedience to God. I knew that there was something God wanted me to sit down and write. I knew that there was a reason God had me rename this blog. Now I am using this blog and writing this message out of a heart of obedience to Him because my job…my part in this is obedience. God’s job is the results and as we all know God is very good at doing His part.
The hard part, however, is surrendering because there are times I happily and gladly lay things at the Lord’s feet only to pick them back up again because He’s not getting around to taking care of them in my time or on my terms…and the reality is God doesn’t do anything on our terms or according to our time…He does it on His.
So…the reality is the only thing to do is Trust God and Trust Him with the results.
A chosen life that exalts Jesus Christ looks like a humble life of service and not self-exaltation. If you think about the number of times Jesus tells us He rewards what we do in secret—and how He rebukes the scribes for wanting attention and fame—you might wonder about your own fight for recognition. I know I still battle the longing to perform for public approval and attention. But Jesus cared nothing for superiority, recognition, or outward signs of importance.
I realize that this is going to be a long read, but there really isn’t a way to write these messages without writing all of them to completion. So some of them are long and some of them are short, but I always write them in the exact length that is needed for God to speak out everything He wants to speak…and so as long as there’s still something God wants to say I will keep writing. It’s part of that Obey God and Trust Him thing because there reality is most won’t read this entire post. But I believe God will lead people who need to read this entire post to it, and whatever they need to hear I just hope and pray that God speaks to them and that they have ears to hear and hearts that will receive and respond to what He’s speaking.
I don’t write these posts because I want people to think about how wonderful and spiritual I am. No, no, no…I am not the one that should be or ought to be or needs to be exalted. Whether it’s Pastor B’s Ministry, Pastor B’s Blog, BryanKizer.com, the Facebook page or anything else I do…none of this is done so that people will exalt Pastor B…it is all done to exalt my King.
I am human. It’s great to hear that something I write has impacted someone’s relationship with Jesus. I am thrilled and encouraged to continue every time I hear that or have someone tell me that…but I do not write these message for the applause or approval of men (or women).
I gain no public approval or favor or anything else from this, and I barely gain any kind of financial help unless the Lord leads someone to sow a little bit of money into this ministry. I turned one series of messages into a book that has maybe sold 40 copies which has helped me out a little bit…but I don’t get any financial gain off of this ministry either.
None of this is about me or for me or for me to get any kind of recognition. As I mentioned it’s nice and encouraging when people like my posts or write me to tell me they’ve accepted Jesus because of my post or that my post helped them to rediscover their passion for Jesus…but in the end the reason I do this more than anything is because I do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord.
I’ve said before that I look at writing these messages as an act of worship because God gave me the ability to write, and now I am using my ability to write to glorify Him. I often say in many of these messages that what I have to say isn’t important it’s what God is trying to speak to you through these messages that’s the most important. That’s why I always ask God to give us ears to hear and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what He’s speaking…because what He’s speaking is the important thing.
All of this is about Jesus and for Jesus. It’s not about me at all other than my name being on the messages. I don’t want the glory or honor or recognition…I want Jesus to get it all because He deserves it all.
A chosen life also rejoices; it’s a life knowing the will of God is that we might “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). It’s also a life of purity in speech and action.
What a perfect way to wrap up this message as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, friends, and loved ones. I am truly thankful that God gave me the ability to write like this, and that He uses my ability to write to speak to you. I rejoice in the fact that there are people all over the world that I’ve never even met that have been impacted by what I’ve written, and I also believe there will be a lot of people saved and hopefully transformed by these messages and posts.
I can’t always say that my speech is pure and that my life is an accurate reflection of Jesus because the reality is I still chase things from time to time that don’t have anything to do with the pursuit of the Father’s heart. I am thankful for a God that understands that, knows that, and still loves me and calls me His own.
I am also thankful that God is no respecter of person, and that the amazing things that He’s done in, with, and through my life He can and will do in anyone else’s who allows Him to do so.
And with that…I am finally finished writing this message. I know that it’s pretty long, and for those of you that have made it this far…thank you for allowing me a few minutes of your day or night. As for me, it’s time to wrap this message up and call it a night so that we can prepare for my parents to come to our house tomorrow for Thanksgiving.
Father, thank You for Your help in writing this message, and for leading me to this devotional that gave my heart the spark it needed to write. Thank You for helping me to write with boldness, clarity, and purpose. Lord God, I ask that You would give every person that reads these words ears to hear Your voice and hearts that will receive and respond to what You are saying because You have said in Your Word that Your sheep know Your voice so I pray, Lord God that Your voice would come through loud and clear to those who need to hear what You are speaking. I lift up every person and ask You that all of us would have a fantastic time with our families, friends, and loved ones. I lift up those who will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving tables for the first time this year, and for those who are serving around the world protecting us in Your name so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving here at home. I pray for those who don’t know You, and ask that they would call upon Your name as Lord, and that they would know You and walk with You all the rest of the days of their lives. I pray and ask all of these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen and Amen.
Final Word from Bryan:
It is my hope that as we search the Scriptures to ask God how chosen people live, we will find ourselves on a path of freedom and joy rather than the dark and slippery path of the world. Scripture is this “light on [our] path” (Psalms 119:59) that shows us the way to walk with Jesus and live differently from the rest of the world.
Thank you all very much for taking the time to read this message. I hope that you’ll come back and join me again for “Becoming More Like Jesus” the next message in this series on “What’s God’s Plan for Me?”
Until then, I love and appreciate you all very much. Good night everyone, and I want to wish all of you a very happy, healthy, blessed, and safe Thanksgiving!
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B