r is for repentance.

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John the Baptist came before. He prepared the way for Jesus. He was not the one but pointed the way to the One who was coming to take away sin. John preached of repentance and baptism. He came eating bugs and honey and clothed in animal hide. He was not adorned in fancy robes and tassels telling of his position, rather wearing what God had provided and adorned.

John taught repentance to all who came out to the desert to see him. When the Pharisees and the Sadducees - the religious leaders of the time, those leading the synagogues and teaching God's people - came to see him, he tells them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3: 8).

Repentance is an important factor in being in relation with God and bearing his fruit - doing his will. Lacking repentance builds blockages that only asking for forgiveness can tear down. Repentance comes when we are willing to lay down pride and accept responsibility and turn to God.

Communication with God is like a stream, rushing through its path, free flowing and following the grooves of the earth, while our sin and unrepentance is that of a dam, blocking the water's flow. With each new dam, our communication is coming to a standstill, while our hearts are hardened from God and our prayers hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

In order to bear fruit, we must search our hearts and be open to repenting and hearing God.

We must be full of humility to confess our failures and short comings and whatever leads us in to sin. Without humility, our relationship with God can turn in to an elephant in the living room sort of thing, where issues are not addressed and we distance ourselves from his love and grace and mercy, cutting ourselves off from communing with him, our life blood. Our ears close off to the still small voice of the Spirit and our hearts reject his promptings.

We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of  (Romans 3:23) but He is faithful and just to forgive if we turn and confess every unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus died for our sins, paying our debt before we breathed our first breath. When we trust in Jesus, we are washed as white as snow, though repentance is still needed.

Praying that whatever your state of communing with God is, that you would take a moment to ask if there is anything that needs to be confessed and forgiven. Praying that your heart would be open to the leading and discipline and grace that is poured out and that you would be strengthened and renewed and refreshed.

Praying that God's kindness would lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4) and that his favor would be your desire. Praying that your prayers would not be hindered but rather powerful and effective as you surrender yourself to God. Praying that you would be obedient in his leading and that you would bear fruit, whatever exciting adventures God has in store for you.

Here's to repentance and bearing fruit.   
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