Praise is Beautiful for the Upright


Sunday 07/07/19

Series: Walking the Talk

Message – Praise is Beautiful for the Upright!


Click HERE for Video

Praise is Beautiful for the Upright

This Sunday we spent nearly twice as long in praise and worship, extolling and reveling in the wonder of our risen Lord and loving Father. After such a fanfare, I felt the only thing worthy of what might pass for a lesson was the reading through and impromptu commentaries of a few of King David’s psalms.

We read Psalm 31-33 and in them saw pictures of consolation, forgiveness, kindness and unbridled mercy. We saw that God, did not delight in offering refuge to those in desperate need – but He delights in BECOMING their refuge. He rejoices over us with SHOUTS when we rely upon Him for deliverance! He listens to us in eager anticipation with ear bent to the throne room floor listening to our cry for help. He is truly wonderful and worth…oh so worthy of our praise!

I hope you will listen to these chapters with fresh ears and allow your heart to respond to the preciousness of the relationship offered to us and made available to us,  through the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Righteous!

Psalm 31

“(1) LORD, I seek refuge in You; let me never be disgraced. Save me by Your righteousness. (2) Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me. (3) For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. (4) You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for You are my refuge. (5) Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You redeem me, LORD, God of truth. (6) I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD. (7) I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love because You have seen my affliction. You have known the troubles of my life (8) and have not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place. (9) Be gracious to me, LORD, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from angry sorrow–my whole being as well. (10) Indeed, my life is consumed with grief, and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my sinfulness, and my bones waste away. (11) I am ridiculed by all my adversaries and even by my neighbors. I am an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street run from me. (12) I am forgotten: gone from memory like a dead person–like broken pottery. (13) I have heard the gossip of many; terror is on every side. When they conspired against me, they plotted to take my life. (14) But I trust in You, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” (15) The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. (16) Show Your favor to Your servant; save me by Your faithful love. (17) LORD, do not let me be disgraced when I call on You. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them be silent in Sheol. (18) Let lying lips be quieted; they speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt. (19) How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You, and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. (20) You hide them in the protection of Your presence; You conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men, from quarrelsome tongues. (21) May the LORD be praised, for He has wonderfully shown His faithful love to me in a city under siege. (22) In my alarm I had said, “I am cut off from Your sight.” But You heard the sound of my pleading when I cried to You for help. (23) Love the LORD, all His faithful ones. The LORD protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant. (24) Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.”

Psalm 32

“(1) How happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! (2) How happy is the man the LORD does not charge with sin, and in whose spirit is no deceit! (3) When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. (4) For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Selah (5) Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah (6) Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. (7) You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah (8) I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel. (9) Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle, or else it will not come near you. (10) Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the LORD will have faithful love surrounding him. (11) Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”

Psalm 33

“(1) Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful. (2) Praise the LORD with the lyre; make music to Him with a ten-stringed harp. (3) Sing a new song to Him; play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout. (4) For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is trustworthy. (5) He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the LORD’s unfailing love. (6) The heavens were made by the word of the LORD, and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth. (7) He gathers the waters of the sea into a heap; He puts the depths into storehouses. (8) Let the whole earth tremble before the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. (9) For He spoke, and it came into being; He commanded, and it came into existence. (10) The LORD frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. (11) The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. (12) Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD–the people He has chosen to be His own possession! (13) The LORD looks down from heaven; He observes everyone. (14) He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from His dwelling place. (15) He alone crafts their hearts; He considers all their works. (16) A king is not saved by a large army; a warrior will not be delivered by great strength. (17) The horse is a false hope for safety; it provides no escape by its great power. (18) Now the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him–those who depend on His faithful love (19) to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine. (20) We wait for the LORD; He is our help and shield. (21) For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His holy name. (22) May Your faithful love rest on us, LORD, for we put our hope in You.”

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!