I Peter 1:13 — Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Recently, a friend of mine was sharing his excitement for an upcoming vacation to Florida. He told me that the bitter cold and the gloomy dark days of winter here in Minnesota didn’t feel so bad, because he could envision soon sitting on a beach, taking in the sun and the sounds of the ocean around him. We’ve all experienced looking forward with great anticipation to something ahead, like an upcoming adventure or some time off after a busy work schedule. Even the weekend can uplift our spirits and drive us to push through whatever is daunting for us in the moment.

It’s in I Peter 1:13 that the Apostle Peter reminds us of the importance hope plays in our lives. All lasting and true hope is found in God’s free gift of grace. God’s gift of eternal life offered to us through Jesus Christ provides for us the much-needed aim and expectation we need as we navigate all that life throws at us. Ahead for us is something much greater than what we are experiencing here in the now. Yet, this living hope is to be a driving force that propels us to honor and glorify God here and now. It prepares our minds for action today. It keeps us watchful and attentive as we await the moment we will stand before God in heaven.

In our new sermon and Home Group study “Hope Away From Home” we are exploring the theme of hope and why it changes our outlook for today. These lessons in I and II Peter challenge us to see beyond the moment, set our hope in things to come, and find our identity, purpose, and place, in a world where we do not belong.

So, what does it look like to set our hope fully on grace? What does that even mean? Well, just as we look forward to things in this life, may we always balance with greater weight the eternal things to come.  I mean, how often do we as believers in Jesus Christ set our securities, our hopes and dreams, or even find our excitement in things that come and go just as fast as our seasons here in the Upper Midwest. Remember, our hope rests in the One who made a way when there wasn’t a way. The One who paid the price for our sins and took upon Himself our brokenness. The One who offers to each one of us everlasting blessings that far outweigh any good this world has to offer. Consider what I Peter 2:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

I want to encourage you, as a congregation, to dedicate some consistent time and focused study in I and II Peter. These writings of Scripture are letters. I can tell you that when I receive a letter or correspondence, I don’t read a line or two once a day or week and then set it down until the next day or week. Instead, I read it from beginning to end. The purpose of these letters to the early church was both instructional and personal, requiring time and focus to understand their depth and purpose. I want to remind you as well, to continue to utilize the resources made available through our Home Group Study on the Emmaus Lutheran Church YouTube page. There you will find replays of each sermon, study videos, and questions for each week of sermon lessons.

Coming up in February is the beginning of our Lenten Season. Each Wednesday, starting on Ash Wednesday, February 14th through March 20th, we will be having services starting at 5:30pm.  During Holy Week, a Good Friday Tenebrae service will take place at 7:00pm on March 29. Our theme is Hope In the Cross. Our focus in both the Sunday morning studies and our Lenten series will provide encouragement to us, as we remember all that Christ has done.

May God continue to richly bless you in Christ Jesus,

– Pr. Nick Dyrud