The Christmas season is rounding home and it's been a whirlwind. I love the anticipation, the excitement that precedes the actual holiday, but am quickly saddened when it's over. Not only is the holiday over, but so too is the year. We have had a wonderful year and have felt God's hand in every area. If I were to give 2015 a word to describe it, I would say that 2015 has been the year of God's Grace. The grace of the Lord was evident in each season for us this year and I am grateful for that.

Have you ever done that, chosen a word for the new year? I think I first heard of choosing a word to be the theme of the year, rather than a resolution, about two years ago. I didn't think much of it, but this year I decided to dig a little deeper into the idea. As I pondered a "word for the year," I kept landing on one word specifically: Increase. After looking at that word through the Biblical lens, I am certain that this word is the perfect one for where I hope 2016 takes me.

I started with what most of us do when we want to thoroughly review and research a topic- I Googled it. :) I searched, "godly increase" and came up with a few great resources (and some less desirable ones). First off, I found a working definition from a blog whose name bears my exact search. It states:

Godly increase- A growth made possible by God alone.

Yes, I want my personal and professional growth in the coming year to have God's favor upon it.

I then found a wealth of scriptural references that solidified my desire for INCREASE.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13The Message (MSG)

11-13 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

This could not be more precisely what I am hoping to do in 2016- open my life and live expansively. Add obediently to that and it's exact.

2 Corinthians 9:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Do you notice he does not say FOR you, but IN you? That speaks volumes to me and further adds to the increase I am hoping for in 2016.

1 Thessalonians 3:12New International Version (NIV)

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

In the end, that's what matters, right? Love others well, like our precious Lord loves us.

What about you? What's your word for the year going to be? How will you use your time in 2016 to pursue His call for you? Pray for a word- then Google it! :)

Happy New Year! Here's to 2016!

Lord, we thank you for the blessings of 2015. We give you praise and honor as we enter into a new year ripe with possibilities. Please sharpen our focus on the path you have paved for us. Lead us to that road so we may run the race you have marked for us. In your son's name we pray. Amen.

#newyear #increase #Bible #change #word

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