Daily Topic for February 18, 2007

Matt. 8:10
"'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith'"

Who had such great faith? A Roman (Gentile) centurion. How ironic was Jesus’ discovery! One outside the Jewish nation, and isolated from the revelation Israel had received, had greater faith than those inside Israel. What made the difference? Many of the Jews were taking for granted God’s Word to them. Though we today have access to the Bible in dozens of versions and a Christian message with the switch of a dial on radio or TV, these privileges are no assurance that Jesus is going to find faith among us. In fact, not only faith, but even the awareness of the purposes of God for the nations can disappear from our minds when we fail to obey what God commands.

Father, teach us to obey!

Muslim Meskhetian (Masakhastian) People

Numbering 30,000-46,000, Meskhetians are agriculturalists and pastoralists with few job skills and even less land. Like Kurds, they are a nation without a state. However, unlike Kurds, most Meskhetians have not lived in their ancestral homeland, in this case the Republic of Georgia, since 1944. That year, Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, uprooted them to Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia, while Georgian men fought in the Red Army against the Nazis. Other people took the Meskhetians’ houses, although some 80 villages remain empty to this day. Since 1989, when they fled Uzbekistan, Meskhetians have sought to return home to the Republic of Georgia.

Their plight is exacerbated by the rising tide of ethnic and Islamic nationalism and Georgian memories of Ottoman Turkish imperialism. These Meshkhetians are ethnically Turkic, and they are Shi’ite Muslims. Neighboring Armenians and Azerbaijanis feel threatened by anyone who seems Turkish. With this kind of hostile interaction with neighboring peoples, some Meskhetians want a separate Muslim Meskhetian nation state of their own while others see Turkey as their homeland. Some are being moved to the U.S. and given refugee status by the United Nations.

Learn more at joshuaproject.net

Pray that U.S. churches will seek to establish Meskhetian ethnic churches among the 21,000 scheduled to come to America. Pray that they find true identity in Christ and peace as pilgrims en route to their heavenly home. Pray that the Georgian Orthodox Church will see their presence in Georgia as a missionary opportunity, not a threat.-TP

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