“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
–Hebrews 13:1-5

Many Americans make New Year’s resolutions. I have never been a fan of resolutions, but I do believe that the new year is a time to re-evaluate just exactly where you are spiritually, and to possibly make some “adjustments” for the new year!
With this re-evaluation in mind, here are 5 biblical resolutions from our opening scripture:

1) Let brotherly love continue (v1a)
On this matter of love towards one another, 1 Cor 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Charity, or love, is something you do. It is an action word.
I love Bette, my wife. I tell her often that I love her, but I also show my love for her with flowers and little gifts. I sometimes make her breakfast and bring it to her while she is still in bed. Sometimes I’ll say, “Bette, sit down beside me, and let’s watch TV together.”
Little things like taking a walk and holding hands show our love and care for one another. Many times it is those small things that we say and do that make all the difference!
1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all your things be done with charity.” If we could only make one resolution in 2023, perhaps it should be this one. I pray that the same love which we showed our families, our neighbors, and our church family this past Christmas season will continue to flourish during the new year.

2) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (v1b)
I knew a pastor who was also an insurance salesman. He built a very successful business by simply handing out business cards wherever he went. He said, “If I maintain a courteous atmosphere with everybody and I am friendly to all, they will keep my business card and remember me, and in their hour of need they will call me.”
Once while I was pastoring, Bette and I visited a Burger King. When I paid for my order, I offered the clerk a tract and invited her to come to church.
A week later, she and her boyfriend showed up! She later came to trust Christ. When we had a time of testimony in our service, Karolee remarked, “I remember Brother Gray giving me a tract when I worked at Burger King. That tract was instrumental in my coming to Christ.”
So we never know just how God might choose to use some small thing that we do with others. This is why we should always try to maintain a ‘courteous’ manner with the world. We just may be the instrument God uses to bring them to Christ.
Just as we can help others, I am certain that God helps us out as well. I have no doubt that when each of us gets to Heaven, we will somehow be given knowledge of people who crossed our paths in this lifetime who were, in fact, angels in disguise.

3) Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them (v3)
When the writer of Hebrews penned these words, the idea of being in bonds was specific to those people who were in jail. Perhaps this was especially so for those that found themselves there for no wrongdoing, who were imprisoned for their faith alone.
The time could soon happen in America when we see people in bonds for their Christian beliefs. But there are all kinds of believers in other types of bonds today.
Besides the imprisoned, think of those who have some kind of physical infirmity–perhaps in your church. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 says, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Does it hurt us to see others in some kind of affliction? When you think of a bad report that someone in our midst may have just received from the doctor, or you receive word that someone is in the hospital yet again, does it grieve us, as if it was you or someone close to you that received the bad news?
That’s the kind of remembrance that verse 3 is exhorting us to have, as if it was you or I in the hospital bed next to them. Remember them that are in bonds in 2023.

4) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled (v4a)
There is not one marriage in your church family that is safe from Satan’s attack–not yours, and certainly not mine. And long before any of us get married, Satan attacks us by trying to make sure we lose our sexual purity for our future spouse.
The devil hates God’s institution of marriage, and exhausts all the resources of hell in an attempt to destroy it and to defile the marriage bed.
Resolve that in 2023, regardless of what may happen to marriages around you, YOUR marriage bed will not be defiled.
And for those of you who are single, resolve to not be engaged in any type of sexual sin that would discredit your testimony, and become a stumbling block for some future spouse that God may give you.

5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; (v5a)
The idea of “conversation” the writer is trying to convey, is really that of “character”. Let every aspect of our character be far removed from coveting.
Why is this such an important resolution for the new year? Because like few other sins, the sin of coveting works to strip away any aspect of inner peace and joy from our lives.
This sin has reached epidemic status in society today–even within the body of Christ. We covet the house that someone else has, and we go in over our heads in debt to get one like it. We covet someone else’s spouse, and we lose all hope of a Christ-honoring, contented marriage in our own home. We covet someone else’s job, and as a result, we mumble and grumble about our own job. We do our work half-heartedly, and success and true satisfaction in the workplace forever eludes us. We covet someone else’s SUV, iPhone, iPod, PC, land, farm equipment … and the list goes on. Therefore, we find ourselves as a country trillions of dollars deep in consumer credit card debt.
This new year, with nothing yet pinned on 2023, resolve to let your character be marked as without covetousness.
Ensure that you honor your marital vows for those that are married, and keep yourself from sexual sin for those that are single.
Remember them that are in bonds, as though you were bound with them.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.
Finally, let brotherly love continue throughout every day of this new year.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.