Saturday, June 12, 2010

What was Paul's thorn in the flesh?

Countless explanations concerning the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh have been offered. They range from incessant temptation, dogged opponents, chronic maladies (such as eye problems, malaria, migraine headaches, and epilepsy), to a speech disability. No one can say for sure what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, but it probably was a physical affliction.What we do know about this thorn in the flesh comes from Paul himself in 2 Corinthians 12:7: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” First, the purpose of the thorn in the flesh was to keep Paul humble. Anyone who had encountered Jesus and was spoken to and commissioned by Him (Acts 9:2-8) would, in his natural state, become “puffed up.” Add to that the fact of being moved by the Holy Spirit to write much of the New Testament, and it is easy to see how Paul could become “haughty” (KJV) or “exalted above measure” (NKJV) or “too proud” (NCV). Second, we know that the affliction came from or by a messenger of Satan. Just as God allowed Satan to torment Job (Job 1:1-12), God allowed Satan to torment Paul for God’s own good purposes and always within God’s perfect will.It is understandable that Paul would consider this thorn a hindrance to wider or more effective ministry (Galatians 5:14-16) and that he would three times petition God for its removal (2 Corinthians 12:8). But Paul learned from this experience the lesson that dominates his writings: divine power is best displayed against the backdrop of human weakness (2 Corinthians 4:7) so that God alone is praised (2 Corinthians 10:17). Rather than removing the problem, God gave him grace and strength through it, and He declared that grace to be “sufficient.”

World Cup 2010. Ricardo Kaka (Mtumishi wa Mungu ndani na nje ya uwanja)

He's the God-fearing Brazilian superstar who could rescue Manchester City's flagging football dreams.And AC Milan ace Kaka is a man born to defy almost every football stereotype.
Unlike many money-obsessed Premiership stars, the devout Christian prefers Bible studies and church to nightclubs and booze.
He donates 10 per cent of his salary to his church and was, famously, a virgin when he married stunning wife Caroline Celico.
Since the age of 14, Kaka has been a member of Igreja Renascer em Cristo, Be Born Again In Christ, a Brazilian protestant sect. The 26-year-old's trademark goal celebration is to point his fingers to heaven, thanking the Almighty.

And after winning the Champions League with Milan in 2007, Kaka showed off a Tshirt proclaiming "I belong to Jesus".
Manchester City, bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan last September with his s15billion oil fortune, is in talks about signing the superstar in a record breaking s108million deal.
He will join fellow Brazilian international Robinho, snapped up by City for a 'mere' s32.5million, as part of a football revolution that has so far faltered, with the team currently 15th in the Premier League.
Last night his move remained shrouded in mystery even to Kaka's close relatives.
His grandmother Vera told the Mirror: "I haven't talked to him yet. All I know is what I've read in the newspaper.
"But I believe he's going to stay at Milan. He likes it very much."
The lure of a s500,000-a-week salary could entice Kaka, but not out of greed, more out of a desire to help others with the money.
The footballer, real name Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, was brought up by fervently Christian parents. His younger brother Rodrigo, gave him his nickname because he could not pronounce Ricardo.
Kaka's story contradicts the familiar tale of the poor boy that escapes Brazil's slums through his prowess at football.
Far from being raised in poverty, Kaka was brought up in a well-educated family in the relatively prosperous capital city Brasilia.
When he was six the family moved to a middle-class suburb of Sao Paulo where he became involved with the city's main football team. Kaka was a late developer, due to a slim frame.
But he was put on a special diet to beef him up and has put on two and a half stone since his professional debut at 17.
His father, Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite, was a civil engineer and his mother, Simone Cristina dos Santos Leite, worked as a teacher.
As a young player Kaka used some of his first football wages to put his younger brother through college.
And to add to his achievements he was made the UN World Food Programme's youngest Ambassador Against Hunger in 2004.
He said at the time: "I hope that my own experience with Sao Paulo and AC Milan can inspire hungry children to believe they can overcome the odds and lead a normal life."
The attacking midfielder also believes that God saved his own career. In October 2000, at the age of 18, he was lucky not to be crippled when he suffered an horrific back injury in a swimming pool accident.
Kaka was visiting his grandparents in Caldas Novas, Brazil, and while there he slipped on a swimming pool slide.
He fell into the shallow water and hit his head hard on the bottom of the pool, twisting his neck and fracturing vertebrae.
But doctors were amazed by his recovery.

They said Kaka was lucky to be able to even walk. To the young player, however, it had nothing to do with luck - God had intervened. "Back at home we always thanked God because we knew that it was his hand that had protected me," he said.
It took Kaka nearly a year to recover enough to play in the first team of Brazil's top side Sao Paulo. He scored two goals in a cup final after coming on as a substitute with 14 minutes left.
He went on to be part of Brazil's World Cupwinning squad in 2002 and was named Serie A Footballer of the Year in Italy in 2004.
In 2007 he was awarded the ultimate prize - FIFA World Player of the Year.
But Kaka presented his church with the trophy, which is now displayed in an exhibition dedicated to the player and his faith.
But the Reborn in Christ Church in Sao Paulo was rocked scandal when its leaders Estevam Hernandes Filho and Sonia Haddad Moraes Hernandes were sentenced to five months' jail in America in 2007 after breaching US customs regulations by failing to declare 56,467 they were importing to Miami. The married couple are also being investigated by Brazilian authorities for financial malpractice.
However, the incident did not rock Kaka's faith. He prays almost every day, always carries the Bible with him wherever he goes and his favourite music is gospel. He is also a member of Brazil's Athletes for Christ, which includes fellow World Cup winners Edmilson and Lucio.
Explaining his faith, he has said: "I was born into an evangelical Christian home.
But when I was baptised in 1994, something supernatural happened to me.
"I cannot explain it, but after that experience I got closer to God; more in tune with him. At that moment I was really born spiritually." The star has even taken a course in theology with a view to one day becoming a Protestant pastor. And his devout attitude meant that he remained a virgin until he married wife Caroline in December 2005.
He met her four years earlier when she was a 14-year-old pupil but they waited until she was 18 before marrying.
In 2007 he told Vanity Fair: "The Bible teaches that true love waits until marriage.
If our life today is so beautiful, I think it is because we waited."
Caroline, whose mum Rosangela Lyra is director of fashion house Dior in Brazil and whose dad Celso Celico is an entrepreneur, is now studying in Milan for a business degree. She gave birth to their first child, Luca, in June last year.
When it comes to football, to AC Milan fans Kaka is a God himself.
He was sworn in as an Italian citizen on February 12, 2007 and features prominently in Adidas advertising and also has a modelling contract with Armani. At the moment he can be seen in a TV advert for Ringo Biscuits in which he drives around Italy showing kids how to do keepie-ups.
Kaka's moral attitude means that you will never see him losing his temper, lashing out or swearing like so many players. He once said: "One needs to have tranquility, calmness.
"I will not brawl, because I am not a brawler. I am not supposed to be punching people up on the field or swearing."
"I seek to be a role model in the club. I seek to demonstrate what God has done for me and that He can do it in their lives as well." Kaka's devotion will no doubt be lost on City's army of fans, but one thing is for sure - they are praying he is on is way to the City of Manchester stadium.