verb / de•liv•er

: “to set free”
: “to take and hand over”
: “to give birth to”
: “to speak, sing, utter”
: “to send to an intended target or destination”
: “to come through with”

From Merriam-Webster, “Deliver.”

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The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you.” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:38-39

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Sometimes, following Jesus doesn’t take us in the directions we thought we would go. Sometimes, following Jesus doesn’t take us in the directions we even wanted to go.

In today’s text, the man whom Jesus rescued from the demons begs to join Jesus and the disciples on their journey, but for some reason, Jesus sends him away. I’m sure that had to be discouraging. This man has just been delivered and set free — he’s ready and eager to go on the next adventure with Jesus, but instead, Jesus sends him in a completely different direction.

However, in going a different direction, this man actually becomes the first person in Luke’s gospel whom Jesus sends out to publicly share the good news. At this point, even the disciples haven’t been sent out yet; they are instructed to continue staying with Jesus.

Sometimes, following Jesus takes us in completely unexpected directions — directions that aren’t familiar or easy. But oh, what a gift it is to journey with Jesus to the places we never imagined we could go.

Mary Alice Birdwhistell

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Deliver me, oh God, from the directions I have plotted and planned for my life. Give me the courage to journey with you to the places I never imagined I would go. Amen.

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May our good God fully deliver you
from whatever it is that is
holding you back,
dragging you down,
locking you in,
or drowning you out,
so that you might be free
to do what God is calling you to do
and to become who God is creating you to be.

Mary Alice Birdwhistell

Mary Alice Birdwhistell serves as the associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, where she enjoys sharing life with a beautifully diverse community of people. She is a graduate of Georgetown College in Kentucky and Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Texas, and she claims both states to be “home.” Mary Alice loves the color purple, anything chocolate, and Kentucky basketball.

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