This week in a men’s Bible study that I lead each Thursday, 6:30a.m.-7:30a.m., we studied about “Boasting only in the Cross, the blazing center of the glory of God,” based on chapter 3 of John Piper’s book, DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE. One of the questions we sought to answer was this:

Do you view life and breath and health and friends through the lens of the cross? Do you take those things for granted and view them as yours by right? What biblical truths have you neglected that lead you to regard these blessings as rights? Cite Scripture verses in your answer.

 The four Scripture passages/verses below, amplified by other verses, help me not to take things for granted:

 1. Genesis 28:3-4, 10-22. These verses record the story of Jacob being blessed by his father, Isaac, and his subsequent journey to his uncle Laban’s place. On the way he encounters God in a very powerful and personal way. As a reminder of the experience and what the Lord had told him, Jacob sets up a stone as a pillar, pours oil on top of it (a way of consecrating it to God), names the place where he was, “Bethel” (House of God), and makes a vow saying, 

“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Genesis 28:20-22). 


Jacob knew that though he was running away from the consequences of his own lies, God had shown mercy to him and reaffirmed His promises. Jacob was in no position to earn God’s favor. Yet, God promised to be with him. What a great display of God’s mercy and grace! Jacob, therefore, did not want to take these blessings for granted. Instead he started being grateful to God. In order not to forget the fact that all blessings came from the Lord, he erected the memorial stone. Jacob would later on refer to the Lord as, “The Stone of Israel” (Genesis 49:24).

2. Psalm 23. In this Psalm, King David who had been a shepherd boy recognizes that the Lord is his Shepherd. He is my Shepherd too, and because of that I shall not want. Psalm 34:8-10 is King David’s reiteration of the goodness of the Lord in providing for his needs. In the passage, David encourages us to put our trust in the Lord and to fear Him,

 “8Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
         how good God is.
   Blessed are you who run to him.

 9 Worship God if you want the best;
   worship opens doors to all his goodness.

 10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
   but God-seekers are full of God

[According to The Message by Eugene H. Peterson]

 As children of God, like King David, we are able in a number of situations to attest to the ways God has met our needs. Psalm 37:4 reminds us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our hearts. When He does, we should not simply enjoy the blessings and forget the ONE WHO BLESSED US. We should not at all take for granted the blessings He sends our way. If it happens that we do, we need to ask for His forgiveness, and start again on a journey of gratefulness.

 3. Psalm 84:11. The Amplified Bible renders this verse this way, “For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  The sons of Korah observed it right. As the wise and righteous of the Lord, they noted that time after time God gives good gifts to His people. Psalm 103:3-12 recount the benefits (blessings) of the Lord. We should take time to read and record them and start praising the Lord who has blessed our lives with so much. “Lord, help us not to take these blessings as our rights but rather as your gifts of grace to us.”

 4. James 1:17. I have always loved this verse and used it whenever I have set my eyes on a newborn child. After holding and beholding the beauty or handsomeness of the child, I would quote this verse to the parents, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (NIV). Then I would pray, “Lord thank you for this perfect gift that you have given to these dear parents. Give them your wisdom and all the help they will need to bring her (or him) up in the fear of you. May this child come to love and serve you for the rest of her life. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”

 I have applied James 1:17 to the gift of children, but it can be applied to a broad spectrum of other things as well. The key here is to recognize the source of the things we have or claim to be our own. This verse stresses the fact what we have are gifts presented to us by someone else. In this case, it is none other than the Father of the heavenly lights. We should never lose sight of this truth. Instead we should engrave it in the inner recesses of our hearts.

 Hope the above Bible verses bless your heart as they have blessed mine this week. 

Baraka (blessings),


How should we face the current economic crisis?

How should we face to the current economic crisis?” That’s a huge question with no easy answers as we all have varied situations. However, God’s Word provides us with some encouragement. Here’s an excerpt from my newsletter, Kirui Kronicle, for March 2009 as a response to the question:


The Lord has given me such calmness and peace, despite being busy and facing many varied challenges [at this time]! The prophet Isaiah put it so perfectly:

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

(Isaiah 26:3, NKJV, see also Phil. 4:7)

Right now, as we face hardships and difficulties in great measure precipitated by the global market meltdown, let us be reminded to call upon the Lord, to celebrate His love, and to remember His promise of restoration (read Jeremiah 33). Let’s thank Him for His will stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “This is the will of God, your sanctification…” The apostle Paul prayed this for the church in Thessalonica and reminded them of God’s faithfulness:

23 May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NIV). We know God will sanctify us, but we must have a desire to be separated and set apart for pure and holy living.”  

What kind of attitude do you have toward your neighbor?

It’s been a long time since I last shared a devotional thought on this blog. I hope to be more regular in sharing my thoughts on this site. Please let me know by leaving a comment if these thoughts are helpful to you in any way. I would love to hear from you.


In the devotional thought below,  I present a commentary of Luke 10:25-37 and conclude with a prayerful thought. Read on…



Recently, I preached a sermon that centered on the three attitudes found in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. The people mentioned in the Scripture passage display the attitudes of the takers, the keepers and the givers. The robbers, on one hand, showed an attitude of the takers in that they took the man’s clothes. In keeping with their life’s philosophy they beat up the man and left him half dead.  On the other hand, the religious leaders (represented by the priest and the Levite) exhibited an attitude of the keepers. They kept the blessings to themselves and did not do anything to help the dying man. The Scripture is clear: they both saw the man and passed by on the other side (verses 31 and 32). Lastly, the least expected thing happened when a foreigner belonging to the Samaritan Community (a mixed race that did not get along with Jews) stopped and helped the man. Unlike the robbers, the religious leaders, and other Samaritans, his generous act of love was good—he lifted the man up by cleaning his wounds, soothing them, and taking him to an inn where he was cared for at the Samaritan’s expense. The philosophy of the Good Samaritan is worth emulating—he lived his life with an attitude of giving. In essence, he was telling the man who fell among thieves, “What I have is yours, and I am going to share it with you.” There’s a lesson for us in Jesus’ challenge to the lawyer at the close of the Good Samaritan story, “Go and do likewise” (v. 37).


Prayerful Thought:

May God help us be a good neighbor to someone in need of our help, whether he or she resides down the street from us or comes from another region or race!




 February 28, 2008, was an important day in Kenya’s history! President Mwai Kibaki and Mr. Raila Odinga  signed a power-sharing deal, thus ending two months of violence which erupted following the announcement of the presidential election results on December 30, 2007. The unrest caused the deaths of nearly 1,200 Kenyans and displaced approximately 350,000 people in their own country.

On Tuesday of this week, twenty days after the deal was signed, the Kenya Parliament passed two crucial bills that were drawn to keep in step with the power-sharing agreement. It is an historical event that has brought about a new governance structure for Kenya.

For the first time since Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963, the country now has a President, a Vice President, a Prime Minister, and two deputy Prime Ministers. This formation of a grand coalition government will work toward fostering national unity and reconciling warring parties, hopefully healing past wounds. However, most Kenyans are yet to realize the results of this “celebration” (Read my Dad’s blog,, to find out what is happening at the grassroots level). 

Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

This is a time for us to thank God for answering our prayers. On January 30, 2008, I sent out a prayer letter asking you to pray for Kenya. Now that our prayers are being answered, I wanted to write and thank you so much that there is peace in my home country.  It is calmer and safer today than it was just a few weeks ago. Please continue to the pray for the new government as it aims for peace and seeks to resettle those that lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods.

The fact that you stood with my fellow Kenyans and me during the difficult time, all the while praying for us everyday, touches the heart of God.  It touches mine, too. Now rejoice with us this Easter as we celebrate the PEACE that Jesus came to bring to mankind. He took away the enmity that existed between God and man when He died for our sins. May the peace of Jesus reign in each of us richly; and may it be extended to our neighbors, our neighboring countries, and to anyone who needs it, through us!


Forever Grateful for the Cross,



[Country map of Kenya]


Dear Praying Friends,  

Greetings to you in the precious and powerful name of Jesus!  

It’s been exactly 22 days today since I got back to Oklahoma City from Kenya. The post-election violence that was initially of a political nature has now degenerated into ethnic clashes with many lives being lost. Seeing pictures online and watching some videos clips breaks one’s heart to see the senseless killings, the unrest, and the untold suffering of thousands of people. My heart goes out especially to the children and the elderly who are caught in the chaos. May God have mercy on the land of Kenya!

 I think I have gotten very depressed over the last three weeks thinking about the instability in Kenya, which doesn’t seem to end. A number of my close friends have lost their homes, and their loved ones, whereas others are separated from their families. It is at such an alarming rate that one doesn’t know what to do but to turn to God for help through prayer. Personally, it has helped talking about this depressing situation with others. Last week I had five speaking engagements in which I asked members of God’s family to pray for Kenya. I know many are praying for Kenya in Europe, Australia, the U.S. Peru, etc, and I am eternally grateful for those prayers. 

I am writing this to make an appeal that you PRAY without ceasing for Kenya. Here’s my foster Dad’s blog: , which has some regular updates on the situation. Please visit the site and keep abreast with the goings on in Kenya. Please pray earnestly for the following requests:

  1. That the Kenyan government and the members of the opposition party may come up with a speedy and sustaining resolution to end the on-going violence.
  2. That the church in Kenya may remain united despite the forces threatening to separate her. Pray that the church may remain a neutral shining example throughout the land of Kenya.
  3. That Christians in Kenya would rally around the Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, resist this evil, forgive each other, and throw aside the things that divide them. It is my hope and prayer that my Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ would recognize their unity in Christ as the Bible tells us: “For he [CHRIST] himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” Ephesians 2:14-16, NIV. 
  4. That the Word of God (the Good News of the Gospel) may spread forth and comfort the families that are affected by the violence and bloodshed, and that it will lead many of them to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  5. That I may glorify God as I follow His leading for my life here in the States. I know He has me here for a mighty purpose and I desire to fulfill it.

Thank you for your prayers. Please ask the Holy Spirit to bring these situations to mind, and as He does, I trust you will intercede for my country before God’s throne of grace. May God bless you for this purposeful act of compassion.  Please send an e-mail note or call if you have a need that I can pray for you and your family. 

Your brother in Christ,



N.B. John 10:10 describes the situation in Kenya and offers hope in Jesus: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I [JESUS] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” AMPLIFIED BIBLE. 

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Psalms 105:1 (NKJV)


This Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I have a relationship with my Creator, and because of that I have a joy that is indescribable! The eternal life He has given to me is full and free.  I believe when my life on earth is done, I will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven.


I am also thankful for my friends and family. In fact as I think about family, I get so excited because, God willing, I will be seeing my family next week. I leave Oklahoma City for Kenya on Tuesday, November 27th.


Josh & Deb Osmon will be joining me for eleven days of ministry in Kenya beginning December 19th. We are so grateful that our airplane tickets have been provided for through some generous gifts. We have also been able to procure 20 study Bibles to bring to Kenyan pastors and lay leaders. This would not have been possible without the prayer and financial support of our ministry partners. Thank You!  We have a prayer guide available for anyone who would like to specifically pray for us during the mission trip.


Here are some thanksgiving verses for you to share with your loved ones:

  1. Psalm 100:4.
  2. Psalm 119:62
  3. 2 Corinthians 9:15
  4. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

As you read the Word and express your gratitude to God and to those who have meant a lot to you, why not take time to practice what Dr. Charles Stanley encourages us to do:

…take the opportunity to reflect humbly on God’s countless blessings–of forgiveness, salvation, and life itself. Let the day be a time when you truly commit to placing Him first in your lives.” (Taken from In Touch Daily Devotional, Nov. 22, 2007 )



Giving Thanks to the Holy One,



In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus gives a charge to His disciples (and to us as well), saying,

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 

This charge has two implications for us as His light bearers in this world today, namely: responsibility and accountability 

Thursday morning in a weekly Bible study that I lead, we had a great discussion on what it means to be responsible members of the Body of Christ.  Our discussion stressed the importance of being accountable to each other. Of course, we are ultimately accountable to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember, He sees, hears, and perceives all we think, do, and say both in private and in public. 

What a responsibility we have as members of the Body of Christ in our dark world! We must do all we can to make a make a difference through our day-to-day lifestyle  for example, as we interact with our FRANS (Friends, Relatives, And Neighbors). The main goal is that we have to live responsibly and not recklessly. We must stand up for Jesus, and stand in His strength alone. 

One of the great hymns of old, A Charge To Keep I Have, was written by Charles Wesley. It sums up what our responsibility as citizens of the Kingdom of God should look like: 

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

 In our study, we also examined how the importance of accountability helps us to become strong and effective witnesses for Jesus. Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary underscores the importance of having a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in our lives. Timothy D. Lee has a great post in his blog on this matter. Click here: 

> > 

to read the full rendering of Dr. Hendrick’s thought.  You can also read Lee’s thoughts on what that entails from a practical standpoint. 

Next Thursday (November 15, 2007), we will wind up our weekly study reviewing our memory verses  and plan to decide on the next topic of study for Spring, 2008. It’s been exciting doing a study on witnessing. In the first five weeks, we drew some principles of evangelism from Philip the Evangelist’s dynamic witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch (cf. Acts 8:26-40). During the last four weeks, we have sought to discover what it means to be salt and light in our society (see Matthew 5:13-16). 

If you have any questions and/or comments on our responsibility and accountability as God’s sons and daughters, please feel free to share them with us. If you would like to receive the Bible study questions we used in our 10-week study, please contact me and I will email them to you. We also have a list of 12 memory verses to send to you if you request for them.  

Thank you and May God bless you.  Sam Kirui 

“My Personal Testimony” by Sam Kirui

  “They overcame him [Satan]
by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus]
and by the word of their testimony

Revelation 12:11

 “I was born and raised in Kenya, East Africa. When I was six years old, my parents loaned me to my uncle’s family to be their “cow boy.” My aunt and uncle were advanced in years and were in the process of adjusting to an empty nest. They therefore needed someone to live with them who would take care of house chores and their cows. In return, my uncle sent me to school. Though I had grown up in a non-Christian home, my uncle’s family was different. My uncle’s daughter-in-law Rachel was a Sunday school teacher at a nearby church. She invited me to go to Sunday school with her kids and I loved her wonderful and animated ways of teaching Bible lessons.  

Week to week, I attended Sunday school with my sister-in-law’s children and learned quite a number of Bible stories which later on became instrumental in my conversion experience.  I must mention that there were other factors that drew me closer to Jesus.  Two of those factors were the love of my pastor and the quality time that my Sunday school teacher spent with me. On Saturdays, James, Rachel’s co-teacher, played soccer with us, and helped us practice Christian ethics in all we did during the week. 

 I recall that my pastor was known for the love he had for people of all ages.  He was literally loved by the whole community.  In fact every Christmas Day both rich and poor would converge at his home for a big meal.  It was an annual event that I always looked forward to because it had lots of food, fun and fellowship.  The love the Christians shared with each other was definitely a witness to the non-Christians in the community. 

Though I continued to attend Sunday school and Church for six years, I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I simply tried to earn my way to heaven by doing the “right” things when in the first place I had not given my heart to Jesus.   

The times that I spent with both my Sunday school teacher and my pastor left a lasting impact on my heart that the Christian life was not boring, but fun and fulfilling.  Before I was a teenager, I was ready to make a decision to follow Christ despite the peer pressure I encountered.  I am thankful for the Christian influence I had.  Without it I would not have committed my life to Jesus. 

This is how I actually gave my life to Jesus.

It was after a regular Sunday worship service that my pastor asked me if I would consider becoming a member of his Catechism class.  I knew right away that attending the class would guarantee my baptism at Christmas time but my heart would still be full of sin because at this time I had not accepted Christ as my personal Savior.  I therefore requested the pastor to give me a week to think about the matter. 

As I walked home from church that Sunday afternoon, I realized for the first time that I was a sinner and that I needed Jesus to cleanse me from sin.  I was thirteen years old and I could not resist the wooing of God’s Spirit to salvation.  It was probably around 1p.m. when I looked up towards heaven and said a prayer of repentance.  After prayer my heart was flooded with the joy and peace of the Lord and I somehow felt lighter than usual.  As a matter of fact, I hurried home to share the good news with my family.  The following Sunday, I joined the Pastor’s Catechism class. 

And this is how Jesus called me into the ministry.

Shortly after I accepted Christ as my Savior I attended a church camp meeting.  The guest speaker spoke about God’s call to the ministry.  He said, “God is calling you.” And the Holy Spirit took those words and personalized them for me.  In response to the message, I made myself available to enter full-time Christian service, praying that He would see me through elementary school, high school and Bible College. 

I graduated from Bible College and became a youth pastor/worship minister after a three-month internship program.  I do not regret having asked Jesus to come into my heart and entering into His service. Today, I love Jesus more than I did that Sunday afternoon when I gave my heart to Him.  I am following Jesus as He leads me a step at a time.  My life verse is Matthew 6:33, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.’ I praise the Lord for His mercy and grace and for His faithfulness in my life and ministry.”

Part I >Trials & Temptations: A scriptural understanding

As we take a look at the topic of understanding what Scripture means when it discusses the terms “trials” and “temptations”, let’s first look at two of the prominent verses that tackle these troublesome obstacles to our lives.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you

face trials of many kinds, because you

know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,

not lacking anything. ” James 1:2-4 (NIV)


“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”  James 1:12-16 (NASB)

In our Christian walk, we all encounter various kinds of trials and temptations. The two are not the same.  Notice that James mentions trials and temptations as separate entities.  One similarity is that we are snared by Satan in both kinds of circumstances if we aren’t prepared to react with godly responses. The difference relates to Satan’s modus operandi when he employs one or the other.  Let me explain.

Trials originate from without and are aimed at testing our faith. If we respond to them in a joyful manner, they result in our maturity and completeness in Christ (cf. James 1:2-4).

On the other hand, temptations originate from within. This is because the enemy of our souls entices us with our own evil desire (lust). He loves to throw out lots of golden baits as he tries to appeal to our senses.  In all these endeavors, he seeks to do us harm by wishing and hoping that we would bite into them. If we do, he will draw us deeper and deeper into the snare of his net with the aim to keep us in a life of sin. However, we must never let Satan win the battle. Instead, the Bible says we should resist him (cf. James 4:8), always remembering that “Greater is He (Christ) that is in us than he (Satan) that’s in the world.” (cf. 1 John 4:4).

A Deeper Look

As we look at some significant points that highlight the differences between the two forms of real life challenges, think about your own level of spiritual maturity as the Lord brings issues you have faced to mind.


What does a trial accomplish and how should we respond to it practically?

The footnote below, found in my New Living Translation, reveals a trial as being synonymous with a testing. When we understand the goal of being tested and what the Lord has in mind when He allows us to go through the fire, we learn a great deal:

We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask Him to help you solve your problems or give you strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave you alone with your problems; he will stay close and help you grow.


So what goals does Satan have in mind when he sets out to tempt us?   A stanza of an old hymn gives us this insight:

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

(YIELD NOT TO TEMPTATION, Retrieved on 10/8/2007 from )

It is often in a moment of weakness that Satan will strike at us. Dr. Charles Stanley’s commentary of 2 Samuel 11:1-5 clarifies this for us:

  • “Scripture is filled with descriptions of men and women who sinned in moments of weakness. The first of these true stories is Adam and Eve. First Corinthians 10:11 says these stories are given for our instruction. God wants us to learn from the mistakes of others.
  • King David’s idleness caused his mind to contemplate adultery with Bathsheba. Weariness led Elijah to view death as preferable to life. Genesis 3:6 indicates pride may have played a part in Eve listening to the serpent. Lust may have prompted Solomon to desire many wives, including unbelieving ones. Add to these a sense of spiritual or emotional neediness and emptiness, and we have at least six situations that are fertile ground for temptation. In some biblical examples, temptation was resisted. But in others, the individuals gave in. We can all identify.
  • The many different types of temptation follow a similar pattern. The eye looks, the mind desires, and the will acts. King David looked at Uriah’s wife and inquired about her. Then, he acted. Joshua 7:20-21 tells the story of Achan. He helped in the Jericho conquest and noticed all the material wealth. Then, he coveted it in his mind and took what he wanted.
  • Regardless of the reason for vulnerability, each person is responsible for his actions. In times of weakness, don’t let yourself become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This warning forms the acronym “H.A.L.T.” Most importantly, we need to fix your attention on the Lord, draw strength from Him, and experience victory over temptation [Taken from In Touch Devotional of June 25, 2007 by Dr. Charles Stanley. Emphasis added].”

As we close this first in the series of taking a look at trials vs. temptations, let’s go back to one of the key verses quoted at the beginning of Part I.  After discussing trials and temptations, the apostle James issues a caution to us: “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:16).  This is therefore a call for us to emulate King David’s example of commitment and trust in the Lord to rescue him in Psalm 25:15: “My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net. “  Next time we will take a look at how we can victoriously overcome temptation and stand firm at the times of trials.