Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! – Nehemiah 8:10


A sad Christian is no witness for God. Ezra read the Book of the Law to the Jewish remnant, and when they heard God’s words, “all the people chanted, ‘Amen! Amen!’ as they lifted their hands toward heaven. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6).

Why should church services and times of preaching be times of sadness and boredom? When the people wept after hearing God’s words, Nehemiah told them, “Go and celebrate with a feast of choice foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared” (v. 10). The Israelites obeyed and celebrated “with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them”

(v. 12)

Later that month, in celebrating a major festival that had been unobserved for many years, the people lived in booths for seven days, and “everyone was filled with great joy” (v. 17). Another observance followed, and this time for six hours at a time the Levites led in worship, saying, “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they continued, “Praise his glorious name! It is far greater than we can think or say” (9:5).

Why should Christians ever lose their joy? Someone has said that if the devil can’t steal your joy, he can’t spoil your goods. Even in your most difficult moments, look to eternity, where you will forever rejoice, world without end. Take a drink today from the joy of heaven, for it is your strength!


Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it. – Nehemiah 5:19

Integrity is the missing ingredient in many leaders today. Nehemiah, however, taught and modeled a sacrificial lifestyle that was above reproach. Although he had a right to be pampered, he refused to place a heavy burden on the people (Nehemiah 5:15). Although others had lorded it over the people, Nehemiah devoted himself to the work on the wall (v. 16). In addition, he never demanded the fine food allotted to him as governor (v. 18). He was a man of rare integrity who led by his example.

A life of integrity demands a lifestyle of accountability that involves one’s money, priorities, and motives. God was so blessed by Job’s integrity that He described him as “the finest man in all the earth—a man of complete integrity” (Job 2:3). In the New Testament, Peter reminded the elders not to be greedy for money, but eager to serve; not to lord it over those entrusted to them, but to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Those you lead can tell if your heart is influenced by the work or the benefits of the work. If you aspire to leadership, seek integrity. God will be sure to make a place for you!

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