Receptivity to God's Word

Then all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands.  And they  bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. - Neh 8:6 NKJV

Have you ever listened to someone,either in a group setting or one-on-one, while thinking to yourself "I wish I could be anywhere but here"?  How much information do you think you gleaned from the person speaking?  On the contrary, when you were interested in the subject matter or the speaker, it is likely that you took home some practical information to use or share with others.  Our attitudes affect our intake.

In the book of Nehemiah, we see a group of people yearning to hear the words of God.  In the open square before the Water Gate in Jerusalem, the people gathered to hear Ezra read the Book of the Law to them.  I wonder if they were ecstatic because their city wall was now complete.  Maybe they had renewed zeal for their calling as God's chosen people.  Ezra read from morning until midday, and "the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law." (Ne 8:3)  After hearing the reading, a collective "Amen" was heard (v6) and they bowed and worshiped the Lord in a humble pose.

I bet this was a sight to behold.  There are three principles from Nehemiah 8:1-6 we can all use to reap the full impact of God's Word in our lives.

1.  Attitude - Seek God's truth for our lives.  When we look forward to how God can change us, we will be more receptive to what he has to say.

2.  Attentiveness - When God speaks to us, we need to give Him our full attention, expecting to hear life-changing principles or promises to apply to our situations.

3.  Application - Everything God says can be directly applied in our lives.  We need to be willing to press our ways into God's mold, not His into ours.

When will you next have the opportunity to hear from God?  It could happen any time, especially if we pick up our bibles daily to hear from him directly.  How will you approach that time differently this next time?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Broken and Praying

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  - Nehemiah 1:4 NKJV

Nehemiah was heartbroken over the news that his people, the Israelites, were in "great distress and reproach." (Ne 1:3)  The city wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and so were the floodgates for Nehemiah's tears.  The situation compelled him to pray and fast for answers.  As a result, new history was made. 

I admire the compassion Nehemiah had for his people.  I also admire his reliance upon God for comfort and guidance.  Additionally, Nehemiah provides an excellent example of intercessory prayer and its power to impart change.  We find out later on in the book of Nehemiah how God answered his prayer and eventually enabled Jerusalem's wall to be rebuilt under Nehemiah's leadership.

How do you respond when crisis strikes?  Do you immediately turn to God in prayer or do you take matters into your own hands?  We can all learn a lesson about prayer from Nehemiah.  Prayer works.  Especially when we pray God's very words back to Him.

To ponder:
1) What is it that I am most broken for?
2) Upon whom do I rely on for comfort in times of distress?
3) What can I do to strengthen my prayer life?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at