Daily Topic for March 17, 2013
The Jewish leaders arrested Peter and John after Peter’s sermon in front of the temple. The charges against them were that they had taught the people about Jesus’ resurrection and had healed the cripple in His Name. Peter’s defense the next day was characteristically simple, yet powerful. He once again testified of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and charged the Jewish leaders with rejecting Him, God’s Messiah. He affirmed that the stone the builders rejected had become the Chief Cornerstone. Jesus, and Jesus alone is the only Way to salvation.
Pray that the Lezgin people will understand from the heart that Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, the only Name under heaven by which we must be saved.
His name is Rustam Kerimov and he lives a humble life in Moscow. He used to tend his sheep in the beautiful Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. His wife wove intricate traditional carpets in their hut overlooking a deep valley. He came to Moscow because of the economic discrimination against his people. Rustam Kerimov is not related to the Lezgin activist Arif Kerimov who played a prominent role in the first conference of the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Lezgins held on June 18, 2012 in Moscow.
The majority of Lezgins (up to 700,000) live in Azerbaijan and Russia’s Dagestan region, but the Lezgins group convened their conference in Moscow to draw Russian attention to the plight of the Lezgins. They suffer economic, cultural, and educational discrimination, especially in Azerbaijan, a country that borders Russia. In fact, many Lezgins deny their Lezgin ethnicity to escape alleged persecution. For this reason population figures vary widely, depending on the source. A recent border agreement especially rankled the Lezgins because Russia handed over two Lezgin villages to Azerbaijan.
The majority of Lezgins are Sunni Muslims, although many also cling to ancient beliefs and traditions that predate their conversion to Islam. According to the Joshua Project, “many of the younger Lezgins no longer follow their parents’ religious traditions, making them more open to the gospel.”Learn more at joshuaproject.net
Pray for the end of discrimination against the Lezgins. Pray for young missionaries in Moscow to reach the younger generation with the good news of salvation through Christ. Pray that the Lezgins would find peace, joy, and acceptance in the person of Jesus.