fbpx

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.

Joy in Giving

By |2024-06-07T02:33:09-04:00June 7th, 2024|

When Keri’s young son was going through yet another muscular dystrophy-related surgery, she wanted to get her mind off her family’s situation by doing something for someone else. So she rounded up her son’s outgrown but gently used shoes and donated them to a ministry. Her giving prompted friends and family members and even neighbors to join in, and soon more than two hundred shoes were donated!

Although the shoe drive was meant to bless others, Keri feels her family was blessed more. “The whole experience really lifted our spirits and helped us to focus outward.”

Paul understood how important it was for followers of Jesus to give generously. On his way to Jerusalem, the apostle Paul stopped in Ephesus. He knew it would likely be his last visit with the people of the church he’d founded there. In his farewell address to the church elders, he encouraged and reminded them to continue to work diligently in service to God as he had while with them (Acts 20:17–20). Then he concluded with Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v. 35).

Jesus wants us to freely and humbly give of ourselves (Matthew 10:8; Luke 6:38). When we trust Him to guide us, He will provide opportunities for us to do so. Like Keri’s family, we may be surprised by the joy we experience as a result.

Meeting Together in Jesus

By |2024-04-01T02:33:13-04:00April 1st, 2024|

When I went through an extended period of emotional and spiritual pain and struggle due to difficult circumstances in my life, it would have been easy for me to withdraw from church. (And sometimes I did wonder, Why bother?). But I felt compelled to keep attending each Sunday.

Although my situation remained the same for many long years, worshiping and gathering with other believers in services, prayer meetings, and Bible study supplied the encouragement I needed to persevere and remain hopeful. And often I’d not only hear an uplifting message or teaching, but I’d receive just the word of encouragement, listening ear, or hug I needed from others.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “[Don’t give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25). This author knew that when we faced hardships and difficulties, we’d need the encouragement of others—and that others would need ours. So this Scripture writer reminded readers to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” and to consider how to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (vv. 23-24). That’s a big part of what encouragement is. That’s why God leads us to keep meeting together. Someone may need your loving encouragement; and you may be surprised by the encouragement you receive in return.

The Passion of Christ

By |2024-03-30T02:33:10-04:00March 30th, 2024|

Before Jim Caviezel played Jesus in the film The Passion of the Christ, director Mel Gibson warned that the role would be extremely difficult and could negatively impact his career in Hollywood. Caviezel took on the role anyway, saying, “I think we have to make it, even if it is difficult.”

During the filming, Caviezel was struck by lightning, lost forty-five pounds, and was accidentally whipped during the flogging scene. Afterwards, he stated, “I didn’t want people to see me. I just wanted them to see Jesus. Conversions will happen through that.” The film deeply affected Caviezel and others on the set; and only God knows how many of the millions who watched it experienced changed lives.

The passion of Christ refers to the time of Jesus’ greatest suffering, from his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday and including His betrayal, mocking, flogging, and crucifixion. Accounts are found in all four gospels.

In Isaiah 53, His suffering and its outcome are foretold: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (v. 5). All of us, “like sheep, have gone astray” (v. 6). But because of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, we can have peace with God. His suffering opened the way for us to be with Him.

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.

Go to Top