Dealing With Your Own Judas

Dealing With Your Own Judas

by Todd Shupe

Perhaps one of the most memorable stories of the New Testament is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot.  Jesus was also denied three times by Peter.  In fact, all the disciples fled for their own safety after Christ was 

arrested.    We know as humans that others will disappoint us and we will surely disappoint them.  We also know that as Christian we are called to forgiveness.  However, betrayal takes on a whole new meaning when the person that betrays you is a close friend or family member.  Now, the situation has become personal and emotions become strong.

Our instinct is to fight fire with fire and to justify our action with “an eye for an eye”. (Exodus 21:24).   At times of betrayal we tend to live in the flesh and not live in the spirit.  We fail to “take capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).  The mind and the heart are so very important to our spiritual health and scripture warns us to protect our hearts.  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).  The heart is a breeding ground for words.  Our words can either build up The Body of Christ or destroy it.  “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” Luke 6:45.

Jesus recognized how we struggle with betrayal and explained the proper response.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.   And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:38-42).

This is an extremely high standard for us to live up too.  In fact, I think it is impossible for us to live up to this standard.  However, through the love, mercy, and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can do this.   Below are some guidelines that have helped me deal with betrayal, and I pray that they are helpful to you.

Recognize Your Enemy

We all have an enemy and we all have the same enemy.  It is the fallen angel known as the devil.  To deny his existence is to deny scripture (1 Peter 5:8-9).  Your enemy is not the person that betrayed you but is in fact the devil. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV).  Christ came to unite us and the devil seeks to destroy and divide us.  Betrayal is one of the favorite tools of the enemy.

Understand the Battle

If the devil does not exist, then why did God send Jesus to fight against what does not exist?  Who was it that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Who tempted Christ after 40 days of fasting?  Who battles and loses to Christ in the Book of Revelation?  Jesus came for many reasons.  One of which was battle.  The Bible says in 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil.”  Betrayal is sign of spiritual warfare.  You are being attacked because you are a threat to the enemy.  He recognizes you as a Disciple with a heart for ministry and wants to stop or minimize your impact.

Fight the Good Fight

Most of us don’t understand the authority that we have against the devil.   Matthew 28:18-19 says “we have all authority in Heaven and on Earth.”  This authority was given to us by Jesus.  We have the Holy Spirit!  “and with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22).  There is no greater power on this earth than the Holy Spirit.  For it is through the Spirit that we are able to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and engage in spiritual warfare.  We arm ourselves with the only necessary offensive weapon – God’s word.

Prayer

Last but not least is prayer.  It is essential that we pray for those that have hurt us, betrayed us, and taken advantage of us.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will come into their lives and fill their hearts with love.  It is important to recognize that your prayer will be answered and God will move but He will move on His time, and His timing is always perfect.

Nobody understands your suffering and betrayal more than our Lord.  He was betrayed by His disciples, the leaders of the church, and the crowd gathered before Pontius Pilate on that fateful day.  During your betrayal it is essential that you draw upon His strength and draw closer to Him.  Your endurance has limits, but His has none.  “Fasten your yoke to His for His yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Discipleship is 24/7 and Hands-On, Christian Ministries Volunteer Todd Shupe Says

todd shupeIt’s no news flash that the number of people who identify as Christian is in decline and has been for some time now. Some would attribute this to selfish desires rather than a generous heart. Others might refer to the Bible and the number of times that God’s people turned their back on Him. “So, perhaps we are just in ‘another cycle,’” says Christian ministries volunteer Todd Shupe. “There may be some truth in both of these explanations, but I believe there is something much deeper and profound.”

 
The church universal has failed to create disciples. Many church-going Christians consider themselves to be disciples. “It is great to attend church on Sunday; we attend to worship, pray, sing, tithe, and fellowship,” says former LSU lab leader Todd Shupe. “However, a disciple is not a passive sport and it certainly is not contained to one hour a week on Sunday.” The natural question at this point is what is your definition of a disciple? Jesus answered this when he first encountered his disciples and said, “Follow me.” My definition of a disciple is one that follows Jesus. Colossians 2:6 reads, “Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”

 
The heart of discipleship is The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God is calling us to spread the Good News. We are called to be His witness and to “make disciples of all nations,” says Todd Shupe.
I think it is important here to recognize that a person cannot disciple another until he or she is a disciple. You simply cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. A disciple has the love of God in his heart and a desire to fish for men. He generously shares his prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to build up the church. “I urge you to prayerfully assess your spiritual life. Talk to your pastor, spouse, and close friends,” says Todd Shupe, LSU wood sciences expert. “Continue to feed yourself with the Word. Discipleship is a life-long process.”

 
We should always be seeking to grow closer to Christ. Feed yourself with the body and blood of Christ. Drink the living water from Jacob’s well. Then, you can pass along what you have and can feed His sheep. Prayerfully consider how God is calling you to be His disciple and how you can help build His kingdom.

Todd Shupe Explores The Traits Of True Leadership

todd shupeIf you are like me, you have seen several books on leadership. The books are typically authored by successful CEOs of large companies or military leaders. These books are often best-sellers and contain very useful information on the principles of secular leadership. The themes are typically along the lines of this: A leader is a visionary. A leader knows how to delegate. A leader surrounds himself/herself with good people. A leader leads by example. A leader is trustworthy. A leader is tough under pressure and, finally, a leader doesn’t tolerate nonsense, says Baton Rouge’s Todd Shupe, who is also a dedicated Christian ministry volunteer.
The best leader that ever walked the earth was not a CEO or a decorated military leader. Jesus modeled true leadership to us by his service to others. Jesus was a servant leader who never once used his authority to serve himself but rather to serve and help others. This point is amplified in Matthew: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Psalmist wrote in 119:125, I am Your servant; give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. He is acknowledging himself as a servant to God.. In turn, God wants us to serve him by serving others. Matthew 25 tells the story of the sheep and the goats and contains this great message in verse 40. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
According to Todd Shupe, a Christian leader is humble. Jesus demonstrated humility by washing the feet of his disciples in John 13. You may be wondering what is the benefit of humility. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The ultimate gift of Christ was the forgiveness of sins for those that believe in Him and life everlasting. “I encourage you to lead by serving others,” says Todd Shupe. “Be blessed.”

Baton Rouge’s Todd Shupe Asks The Great Question: Where Is God?

todd shupe baton rougeWe were created as curious creatures, designed to seek, learn and discover. As Christians, we have a desire to seek God’s face. We read in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it, you may grow up in your salvation.”
Craving spiritual milk is a holy desire to become more Christ-like, says Todd Shupe, LSU’s former wood science professor and lab director. “However, in your journey to understand God, we often ask ‘Where is God?’”

In the book “Economy” by Henry David Thoreau, he writes “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Todd Shupe, of Baton Rouge, thinks that all of us as curious creatures of God are seeking something. The “desperation” occurs when we don’t find what we are seeking. Matthew 6:33 tells us precisely what to seek: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

It is easy to become discouraged when we don’t have a “mountain top” experience with God as did Moses or if we don’t walk on the water as did St. Peter. We then “swim away” disappointed and search for answers in places that are unable to provide them – alcohol, gambling, pornography, etc. “We fail to realize that God is present now,” says former LSU professor Todd Shupe. “In the boring rainy days, stuck in traffic and the day-to-day work grind.”

You must have eyes to see the beauty of Christ that is present all around you. St. Thomas did not believe that Christ had risen even though he was told so by the other Disciples. Jesus appeared to him and said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” (John 20:29).

With human eyes we only see as humans; with God’s eyes, we can see His presence all around us. Imagine yourself this day walking on the road to Damascus with Saul. Scales cover your eyes and you are blinded but you follow God’s instructions and the scales are removed.

For the first time in your life, you can see. You are seeing the world through God’s eyes and you see His presence all around you. You are filled with the love of the Holy Spirit and a burning desire to fulfill the Great Commission. You are a child of God and He loves you more than you can ever imagine. He is always with you and will never leave you. “Go out into the world with the peace and knowledge that God leads you, just as he did Moses, by day and by night,” said Todd Shupe, of Baton Rouge. “Be blessed.”

Todd Shupe Encouraged By U.S. Numbers Of Faithful Compared To European Decline

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It doesn’t take a prolonged look around to realize that church attendance is down and pews are a bit barren from time to time. A quick canvass of friends and co-workers will similarly tell you that overall church attendance has reached discouraging numbers. According to an Oct. 17, 2017 article from National Review magazine, a new book and recently-released study explores this trend as it has been unfolding in Europe. According to Todd Shupe, who has worked tirelessly to further Christian organizations and outreach efforts, it would behoove us to recommitting ourselves to The Great Commission.

First, the study: The National Center for Social Research found that 62 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 in England identify as having no religion. In Scotland, the study found that church attendance has dropped by 50 percent in the past three years and just three percent of English people between the ages of 18 and 24 identify as Anglican. Moving on to the book, “The Strange Death of Europe,” author Douglas Murray explores societal and cultural changes on the continent in his 2017 publication. According to Murray, this is attributed to, in part, immigration and the new norms that newcomers bring with them. Given the above statistics, it’s difficult to stay with a straight face that the modern church of any denomination is doing well.

To Todd Shupe, a man of unshakable faith and former professor with LSU, America is no stranger to spotty attendance on Sunday mornings.  While he doesn’t like what the study and book have to say, recent stats out of America paint a more encouraging picture. According to an in-depth Pew Research Center study from 2014, 63 percent of 35,071 respondents contacted by Pew said they had an “absolutely certain” belief in God. Compare that to a mere nine percent who felt the opposite and it’s clear that we’re doing something right on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Some readers may wonder why trusting a higher power so important? To Todd Shupe, the moral foundations that are built through religion also brings with it a sense that something greater than us is in control. If we can learn to communicate with God and see His work on a daily basis, then those who’ve stopped making the weekly pilgrimage to church might remember why we go in the first place: To meet with fellow Christians and demonstrate your obedience to God above all others.

‘Water Will One Day Flow Under The Bridge,’ Todd Shupe Says Regarding Road To Forgiveness

todd shupe“Water under the bridge.” If you can say this one day during trying times and mean it, know that you’ve achieved something that so many of us strive for. According to Christian ministry volunteer Todd Shupe, forgiveness is a skill that takes time to learn and patience to practice when offering it upon others. That’s because the world isn’t always fair and gut-wrenching situations can’t immediately be solved with forgiveness. However, time heals all wounds and those who practice this trait will feel a lot better than walking around all day with a grudge hung around your neck like an albatross. In this article, Todd Shupe will further explore the Biblical interpretations of forgiveness and explain how it’s comforting to him to know that some folks are working toward perfecting this personal trait.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Former LSU professor Todd Shupe understands that this passage may be of little consolation to those of us who are hurting due to trespasses against us. In time however, we’ll understand that we’re not perfect and we could one day be in the position where we’re the one desperately seeking forgiveness.  In Luke 6:37, we see that this exact  predicament is addressed and resolved: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” To the point of damage done to us, Matthew 6:15 has this to say: “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

According to Todd Shupe, who has helped out with numerous Christian outreach efforts and mentoring programs for children of incarcerated parents, it’s the endgame that is of great significance. When working with groups such as the United Methodist Men, Promise Keepers, Gulf Men South, Walk to Emmaus, Iron Sharpens Iron and other ministries, Todd Shupe has met many wounded by wrongdoing. It’s been a topic of conversation many times, too. However, turning to the Bible for the best form of advice has not only comforted those who’ve been wronged, but put them on the right path toward recovery and self-improvement. The road to forgiveness is long and can be painful for the victims. “Trust me: Water will one day flow under the bridge,” says Todd Shupe.

Todd Shupe’s Take On Race Relations And The Bible Interpretations

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We have had problems in this country with race relations for many years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark civil rights and federal labor law in the United States, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In recent years, untold news reports have documented the civil unrest in New York City, Los Angeles, Ferguson, Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia and numerous other cities across our country. This unrest is often associated with police brutality against young black men, explains Todd Shupe.

What’s more, such instances have occurred repeatedly with seemingly no plan to curb them. If we turn to the Bible, however, it’s clear that such divisions were never intended by our creator. In this article, Todd Shupe explains the way we should treat each other as evidenced by scripture.

“Any time one human dehumanizes another through racism, sexism, ageism, religion or more, it breaks my heart,” Christian organization volunteer Todd Shupe said recently. “There is truly one race of people — the human race. Throughout history, the enemy has used his weapons of fear, jealously and greed to develop hatred and mistrust of the races.”

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body.” Acts 17:26 tells us, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” In other translations, the wording is “from one blood.”

We are all children of God and we all seek to enter His kingdom through the narrow gate, Todd Shupe says. We are all commanded to love and respect one another. A Christian seeks to be a disciple and a disciple is known by their actions.  “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Be blessed!

Todd Shupe Explains The True Meaning Of Salvation

todd shupeI had heard the term salvation for years, but was not entirely clear of its meaning. I have come to understand that salvation is “deliverance from danger or suffering.” To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health or preservation. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words “saved” or “salvation” to refer to temporal, physical deliverance — such as St. Paul’s deliverance from prison (Philippians 1:19).

“Salvation is God’s gracious gift to us,” says Christian organization volunteer Todd Shupe.

St. Paul describes salvation in Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

“So what is it then to be justified,” asks Todd Shupe. “This means God treats us as if we were righteous. It is imperative that we remember that our righteousness comes from our faith in God and not our obedience to the Law (Philippians 3:9).”

Moreover, St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8, “it’s by His grace.” It has nothing to do with me; we are saved by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Redemption is simply a ransom that’s been paid for our sin and all of this is His free gift to us. Jesus equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24-26). We are saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin (Romans 5:91 Thessalonians 5:9). Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23), explains Todd Shupe. Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves the removal of sin.

We are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel — the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe — fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16). This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19) and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-1013). Then as part of the Body of Christ, Todd Shupe states that we must serve. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26) so I encourage you to accept this free gift and life everlasting. Stay in the Word and the Word will stay in you! Be blessed.

Areas of Wood Science Research

todd shupe lsuOf the many hats worn in the illustrious career of Todd Shupe, LSU professor, lab director and quality manager of ISO 17025 Testing lab (1994-2014), wood scientist is among the most intriguing.

While teaching Wood Science at LSU, Todd Shupe performed proprietary third-party mechanical, physical, and chemical tests for new and existing wood-based products, biocides, coatings, etc. so that they could gain approval/re-registration from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

While wood science is extremely important for utilizing one of the world’s most widely used natural resources, not many are aware of the types of research that goes into this field.

To help shine some light on the subject, Todd Shupe reviews some of the main areas of wood science research.

Biodeterioration, Materials Protection, & Product Durability

This is the research of wood decay, and the information gathered through this research has a wide-range of industrial applications. Improvement in the science of wood product durability is a result of this type of research. For those who want to learn more about how to sustainably design and manage wood products, this is the field of research for them.

Composite Materials

Wood composite materials research ranges from composite manufacturing to formaldehyde-free adhesives to the study of composite fracturing. All of this is important when trying to understand the ever-changing applications of wood composites and the diverse range of materials that can be used to make them.

Forest Products Business and Marketing

Forest product innovation relies on the research of business management and marketing strategies for these products.  Those who study this area learn marketing in renewable materials, corporate responsibility, and how to use the competitiveness of the industry as an advantage.

Green Building and Environmental Performance

The use of wood in green building and sustainable design has increased and so has the research of this area. The development of reliable wood-based green materials is in high demand as the market for green products continues to grow.

Timber Engineering, Mechanics, & Structural Design

Timber engineering and structural wood design involves advanced mathematical and engineering, including the studying of materials and components, the performance of structural systems and fasteners, and the design of wood structures. This research helps determine the integrity of wood structures.

Wood Aesthetics & Natural Coloration

The natural coloration of wood by fungi—or spalting—is another area of wood science research that some find fascinating. This field of study explores this process and sometimes unexpected aesthetic or commercial opportunities come along as a result.

Wood BioEnergy

Perhaps the fasting growing area of wood research is bioenergy and includes many agricultural residues that are not even wood such as sugar cane bagasse, corn stover, etc.  This research identifies cost effective methods of converting wood and other raw materials into pellets and thermos-chemical methods to develop energy such as pyrolysis, gasification, super critical conversion, and liquefaction.

Be sure to check back to learn more from Todd Shupe about his many areas of expertise!

Grace Upon Grace: An Exploration Of God’s Love And How To Receive It

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We are created with a deep need to be loved. This is Todd Shupe’s firm belief. What’s more, he says that there are two radically different kinds of love: conditional and unconditional. Conditional love involves bargaining and there are conditions that we must meet in order to receive love from others. Such conditional living is exhausting, involving a treadmill of constant doing in order to earn and maintain love.

Unconditional love is radically different, involving a conversion of our motives. The Christian dynamic is “not that we loved God, but that he loved us,” (1 John 4:10). Unconditional love is a gift in which the initiative is God’s — and not ours. Human love always expects something in return, yet God’s love does not. Grace is the name for God’s incredible love. God loves us because of who God is; not because of who we are or what we have done.

There is nothing we can do to earn or lose God’s grace, says Christian organization volunteer and former LSU professor Todd Shupe. It is freely given. In fact, God has given us an abundance of grace. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace,” (John 1:16). This grace is so large that “nothing can separate us from the love of God,” (Romans 8:35-39).  According to Todd Shupe, this is astonishing and I encourage you to pause and think about what you have just read.

Now that we have received God’s grace, what is our response?  First, never let your hearts be troubled.  Be confident and courageous and know that God’s favor is upon you. Second, extend grace to others. A few examples are teaching Sunday school, be involved in Christian service, give a full tithe to your church, pray for your pastor and the church, witness your faith and be engaged in the Bible daily and show compassion to the hungry.

According to Todd Shupe, who previously at LSU instructed wood science operations, whenever you help the poor, incarcerated, homeless, and marginalized, you are helping our Lord. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,’” (Matthew 25:40). Go with the knowledge and confidence that God’s grace is forever upon you. Be blessed.