Daily Topic for May 16, 2012
“You are the Christ, the son of the living God,” declared Peter. Jesus responded by telling him that this declaration was the rock on which the church would stand. There was a time in Tunisian history when the church did stand in their territory. Unfortunately, Christians were content to treat the people of North Africa as second-class citizens of the Roman Empire. When the emerging Arab Empire rolled through North Africa, the Tunisians became Muslims. Islam has been their religious affiliation ever since. Now most of them have never had a chance to hear about Jesus as a spiritual liberator.
Pray that today the Tunisian Muslims will see beyond their religious affiliation and give Jesus a chance to change their lives.
Last year was a terrible year for Italy. Their president was constantly fending off allegations of sexual adventures that were an embarrassment to the country. Their economy soured exacerbating problems with the national debt and unemployment.
To make things even harder, Italy was flooded with Arabs who were fleeing from Tunisia. This was the first North African country to begin ousting a long-term dictator. In January of 2011 there was a feeling that it was now “springtime” for the Arab World. But by February it became clear that people needed jobs and a new, more responsive government. Many feared the violence that can come from an unstable government. Both job seekers and political refugees began to flood Italy, starting with the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. Italian efforts to send many of the new refugees to neighboring France were not well-received by the French government. In the end, Italy was left with a nearly broken economy and 27,000 more people needing jobs.
Ten years ago Tunisia was a relatively prosperous and progressive Arab country. The government was stable, but stability is now a thing of the past. One thing that is stable in Tunisia among the 10 million Arabs that live there is the Islamic religion. In Tunisia Arabs must remain Muslim. The newly democratically elected government is dominated by so-called moderate Islamists. Other religions are only tolerated among foreigners.
Pray that during this time of instability, the Tunisian Arabs in Europe will look to the rock who is Jesus.