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About Alyson Kieda

Alyson Kieda has been an editor for Our Daily Bread Ministries for over a decade and has more than 35 years of editing experience. Alyson has loved writing since she was a child and is thrilled to be writing for Our Daily Bread. She is married with three adult children and a growing number of grandchildren. Alyson loves reading, walking in the woods, and being with family. She feels blessed to be following in her mother’s footsteps—she wrote articles many years ago for another devotional.

A Call to Prayer

By |2024-01-10T01:33:23-05:00January 10th, 2024|

Abraham Lincoln confided to a friend, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” In the horrific years of the American Civil War, President Lincoln not only spent time in fervent prayer but also called the country to join him. In 1861, he proclaimed a “day of humiliation, prayer and fasting.” And he did so again in 1863, stating, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God: to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon.”

After the Israelites had been captives in Babylon for seventy years, King Cyrus permitted the Israelites to return to Jerusalem, and a remnant did. When Nehemiah, an Israelite and cupbearer to the king of Babylon (Nehemiah 1:11), learned that those who had returned were “in great trouble and disgrace” (v. 3), he “sat down and wept” and spent days fasting and praying (v. 4). He wrestled in prayer for his nation (vv. 5–11). And later, he too called his people to fast and pray (9:4–37).

Centuries later, in the days of the Roman Empire, the apostle Paul gave his readers reason to also pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Our God still hears our prayers about matters that affect the lives of others.

Overcoming Trials

By |2023-12-13T01:33:16-05:00December 13th, 2023|

Anne grew up in poverty and pain. Two of her siblings died in infancy. At five, an eye disease left her partially blind and unable to read or write. When Anne was eight, her mother died from tuberculosis. Shortly after, her abusive father abandoned his three surviving children. The youngest was sent to live with relatives, but Anne and her brother, Jimmie, went to Tewksbury Almshouse, a dilapidated, overcrowded poorhouse. A few months later, Jimmie died.

At age fourteen, Anne’s circumstances brightened. She was sent to a school for the blind, where she underwent surgery to improve her vision and learned to read and write. Though she struggled to fit in, she excelled academically and graduated valedictorian. Today we know her best as Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher and companion. Through effort, patience, and love, Anne taught blind and deaf Helen to speak, to read Braille, and to graduate from college.

Joseph too had to overcome extreme trials: at seventeen, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and was later wrongly imprisoned (Genesis 37; 39–41). Yet God used him to save Egypt and his family from famine (50:20).

We all face trials and troubles. But just as God helped Joseph and Anne to overcome and to deeply impact the lives of others, He can help and use us. Seek Him for help and guidance. He sees and hears.

Priceless Results

By |2023-11-20T01:33:08-05:00November 20th, 2023|

On every school day for three years, Colleen has been dressing up in a different costume or mask to greet her children as they exit the school bus each afternoon. It brightens the day of everyone on the bus—including the bus driver: “[She] bring[s] so much joy to the kids on my bus, it’s amazing. I love that.” Colleen’s children agree.

It all started when Colleen began fostering children. Knowing how difficult it was to be separated from parents and to attend a new school, she began greeting the kids in a costume. After three days of doing so, the kids didn’t want her to stop. So Colleen continued. It was an investment of time and money at thrift shops, but, as reporter Meredith TerHaar describes, it brought a “priceless result: happiness.”

One little verse amid a book of wise and witty advice, largely by King Solomon to his son, sums up the results of this mom’s antics: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). By bringing cheer to all her kids (biological, adopted, and foster), she hoped to prevent crushed spirits.

The source of true and lasting joy is God through the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; Galatians 5:22). The Spirit enables us to shine God’s light as we strive to bring joy to others, a joy that offers hope and strength to face trials.

In the Garden

By |2023-10-20T02:33:18-04:00October 20th, 2023|

My dad loved being outdoors in God’s creation camping, fishing, and rock-hunting. He also enjoyed working in his yard and garden. But it took lots of work! He spent hours pruning, hoeing, planting seeds or flowers, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, and watering the yard and garden. The results were worth it—a landscaped lawn, tasty tomatoes, and beautiful peace roses. Every year he pruned the roses close to the ground, and every year they grew back—filling the senses with their fragrance and beauty.

In Genesis we read of the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived, thrived, and walked with God. There, God “made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). I imagine that perfect garden also included beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers—perhaps even roses minus the thorns!

After Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God, they were expelled from the garden and needed to plant and care for their own gardens, which meant breaking up hard ground, battling with thorns, and other challenges (3:16–19, 23–24). Yet God continued to provide for them (v. 21). And He didn’t leave humanity without the beauty of creation to draw us to Him (Romans 1:20). The flowers in the garden remind us of God’s continued love and promise of a renewed creation—symbols of hope and comfort!

Acts of Kindness

By |2023-09-07T02:33:40-04:00September 7th, 2023|

Months after suffering a miscarriage, Valerie decided to have a garage sale. Gerald, a neighbor craftsman a few miles away, eagerly bought the baby crib she was selling. While there, his wife talked with Valerie and learned about her loss. After hearing of her situation on the way home, Gerald decided to use the crib to craft a keepsake for Valerie. A week later he tearfully presented her with a beautiful bench. “There’s good people out there, and here’s proof,” Valerie said.

Like Valerie, Ruth and Naomi suffered great loss. Naomi’s husband and two sons had died. And now she and her bereft daughter-in-law Ruth had no heirs and no one to provide for them (Ruth 1:1–5). That’s where Boaz stepped in. When Ruth went to a field to pick up leftover grain, Boaz—the owner—asked about her. When he learned who she was, he was kind to her (2:5–9). Amazed, Ruth asked, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes?” (v. 10). He replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband” (v. 11).

Boaz later married Ruth and provided for Naomi (chap. 4). Through their marriage, a forefather of David—and of Jesus—was born. As God used Gerald and Boaz to help transform another’s grief, He can work through us to show kindness and empathy to others in pain.

Dealing with Disappointment

By |2023-08-27T02:33:26-04:00August 27th, 2023|

After raising money all year for a “trip of a lifetime,” seniors from an Oklahoma high school arrived at the airport to learn that many of them had purchased tickets from a bogus company posing as an airline. “It’s heartbreaking,” one school administrator said. Yet, even though they had to change their plans, the students decided to “make the most of it.” They enjoyed two days at nearby attractions, which donated the tickets.

Dealing with failed or changed plans can be disappointing or even heartbreaking. Especially when we’ve invested time, money, or emotion into the planning. King David “had it in [his] heart to build” a temple for God (1 Chronicles 28:2), but God told him: “You are not to build a house for my Name . . . . Solomon your son is the one who will build my house” (vv. 3, 6). David didn’t despair. He praised God for choosing him to be king over Israel, and he gave the plans for the temple to Solomon to complete (vv. 11–13). As he did, he encouraged him: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work . . . for the Lord God . . . is with you” (v. 20).

When our plans fall through, no matter the reason, we can bring our disappointment to God who “cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7). He will help us handle our disappointment with grace.

Our Choices Matter

By |2023-05-21T02:33:03-04:00May 21st, 2023|

A twenty-nine-year-old swimming instructor in New Jersey saw a car sinking into Newark Bay and heard the driver inside screaming “I can’t swim” as his SUV quickly sank into the murky waters. As a crowd watched from shore, Anthony ran to the rocks along the edge, removed his prosthetic leg, and jumped in to rescue the sixty-eight-year-old man and help him safely to shore.

Our choices matter. Thanks to Anthony’s decisive action, another man was saved. Consider the patriarch Jacob, the father of many sons, who openly favored his seventeen-year-old son Joseph. He foolishly made Joseph “an ornate robe” (Genesis 37:3). The result? Joseph’s brothers hated him (v. 4); and when the opportunity arose, they sold him into slavery (v. 28). Yet because Joseph ended up in Egypt, God used him to preserve Jacob’s family and many others during a seven-year famine—despite Joseph’s brothers’ intention to harm him (see 50:20). The choice that set it all in motion was Joseph’s decision to be honorable and run from Potiphar’s wife (39:1–13). The result was prison and an eventual meeting with Pharaoh (ch. 41).

Anthony may have had the advantage of training when he made his decision, but he still had a choice. When we love God and seek to serve Him, He helps us make life-affirming and God-honoring choices. If we haven’t already, we can begin by entrusting our lives to His care.

Laughing Out Loud

By |2023-04-28T02:33:03-04:00April 28th, 2023|

Comedian John Branyan said, “We didn’t think up laughter; that wasn’t our idea. That was given to us by [God who] knew we were going to need it to get through life. ’Cuz He knew we were going to have hardship, He knew were going to have struggles, He knew . . . stuff was going to happen. . . . Laughter is a gift.”

A quick look at the creatures God made can bring laughter, whether because of their oddities (such as duck-billed platypuses) or antics (such as playful otters). God made mammals that live in the ocean and long-legged birds that can’t fly. God clearly has a sense of humor; and because we’re created in His image, we too have the joy of laughter.

We first see the word laughter in the Bible in the story of Abraham and Sarah. God promised this elderly couple a child: “A son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir” (Genesis 15:4). And God had said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars . . . . So shall your offspring be” (v. 5). When Sarah finally gave birth at ninety, Abraham named their son Isaac, which means “laughter.” As Sarah exclaimed, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (21:6). It amazed her that she could nurse a child at her age! God transformed her skeptical laughter when she’d heard she’d give birth (18:12) into laughter of sheer joy.

Thank God for the gift of laughter!

God Is Listening

By |2023-03-27T02:33:04-04:00March 27th, 2023|

Chuck, an actor and martial artist, honored his mother on her hundredth birthday by sharing how instrumental she’d been in his spiritual transformation. “Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith,” he wrote. She raised three boys on her own during the Great Depression; suffered the death of two spouses, a son, a stepson, and grandchildren; and endured many surgeries. “[She] has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin.” He continued, “When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood, she was back home praying for my success and salvation.” He concluded, “I thank [my mom] for helping God to make me all I can and should be.”

The prayers of Chuck’s mother helped him to find salvation—and a godly wife. She prayed fervently for her son, and God heard her prayers. We don’t always get our prayers answered the way we’d like, so we cannot use prayer as a magic wand. However, we are assured by James that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16). Like this mom, we are to continue to pray for the sick and those in trouble (vv. 13–15). When, like her, we commune with God through prayer, we find encouragement and peace and the assurance that the Spirit is at work.

Does someone in your life need salvation or healing or help? Lift your prayers to God in faith. He’s listening.

Keep Talking about Jesus!

By |2023-02-25T01:33:21-05:00February 25th, 2023|

In an interview, a musician who’s a believer in Christ recalls a time he was urged to “stop talking about Jesus” so much. Why? It was suggested that his band could be more famous and raise more money to feed the poor if he stopped saying his work was all about Jesus. After thinking it through, he decided, “The entire point of my music is to share my faith in Christ. . . . No way [am I] going to be silent.” He said his “burning calling [is] to share the message of Jesus.”

Under much more threatening circumstances, the apostles received a similar message. They’d been jailed and miraculously delivered by an angel, who told them to continue telling others about their new life in Christ (Acts 5:19–20). When the religious leaders learned of the apostles’ escape and that they were still proclaiming the gospel, they reprimanded them: “We gave you strict orders not to teach in [Jesus’] name” (v. 28).

Their reply: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (v. 29). As a result, the leaders flogged the apostles and “ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus” (v. 40). The apostles rejoiced that they were worthy of suffering for Jesus’ name, and “day after day . . . never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news” (v. 42). May God help us to keep following their example!

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