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According to Christianity Today, 17 African countries are today suffering persecution. While we in America take pride in religious liberty, Christians around the world often suffer for their faith. We cringe when we hear of religious persecution, but the Apostle Peter alerted us to its reality. In 1 Peter Chapter 1, he told suffering believers of his day, “Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that our faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” For Christian believers, hope is not daydreaming; it is faith directed to the future. Our hope is certain because of our union with Jesus Christ. Since He suffered, but rose again and entered eternal glory, the Bible says we can expect to enter glory as He did. Peter says Christ’s victory over death guarantees believers an eternal inheritance. Present troubles refine our character as fire refines gold. Of course, we never look for trouble, but when it comes, our faith and God’s faithfulness help us to cope.

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