Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ben's Road to Infamy. This Is the Way... Up Close and Personal. Unloading Van.

He was a successful businessman and a war hero. But then something went terribly wrong.

"Things looked bleak for the fledgling American Revolution. After Bunker Hill the Continental Army seemed to lose every encounter with the British. The revolution was in need of a hero.

Ben, a Connecticut lad, was a leading merchant in the colony. He not only ran a successful mercantile, but owned a fleet of ships and was an accomplished sea captain. His sense of honor and business acumen gave him an aura of confidence. Acquaintances said he appeared arrogant, and he occasionally sought solutions through dueling.

As his business fortunes rose so did his resentment of British taxation. Smuggling was an acceptable means to evade taxation. Ben became an outspoken leader of the liberty movement. His articulate and passionate letters appeared in local newspapers.

When war broke out Ben was elected captain of the local militia. He promptly organized them into an effective fighting force and presented a bold plan for seizing the British forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga. The plan was accepted and the expedition successful, although Ben was in constant conflict with fellow officers.

Because of the nation's lack of hard currency, Ben spent a large sum of personal money financing the campaign. Added to his financial hardships was the tragedy of his wife's sudden death. Ben contained his sorrow by dedicating himself to the revolution.

About this time Ben caught the attention of George Washington. The General saw through Ben's bluster and tactlessness and recognized him as a leader and good tactician. Ben had come up with a plan to invade Canada and make it a fourteenth colony. Washington gave him the pick of the army.

The hardships of the Canadian expedition were overwhelming. Upon reaching Quebec Ben's troops united with another column under General Richard Montgomery. In the ensuing battle Montgomery was killed and Ben wounded. During the harsh winter retreat, Ben's leadership held the army together.

Returning home, Ben found himself faced with charges because he had forced Canadian merchants to give food to his starving army. To his wounded pride this was a bitter pill. He demanded an inquiry, and, after an investigation, the charges were dropped.

Without a command, and on his own initiative, Ben constructed a small fleet of ships on Lake Champlain. In October 1776 he attacked and defeated a larger British fleet. A few days later Ben and a small group of men held off the British fleet from a scuttled ship while the Americans retreated.

By now Ben had been promoted to brigadier general. He was sure that he was next in line for promotion to major general. The Continental Congress, being politicians, felt that generals should be more evenly distributed from among all the colonies. New England, they felt, had more than its share. So the next major generals would have to come from the southern colonies.

Ben was livid and resigned in response to this decision. However, Washington convinced him to stay. Because Ben was instrumental in defeating a British force in battle, Congress was obliged to give him the promotion. But there was no army for him to command. Ben got into an argument with his commanding officer and was fired. He enlisted as a common soldier and was seriously wounded in the Second Battle of Saratoga.

As he recovered Ben was given command of the garrison in Philadelphia. Tired after having spent much of his personal fortune on the war effort, as well as having been wounded twice, Ben decided to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Ben lived extravagantly. It wasn't long until British sympathizers used his lifestyle to bring charges against him. He was commanded to appear before a court martial.

Ben was exonerated on all charges, given a mild reprimand to please the politicians, and given back his command. But this was the last straw. The young patriot, ablest of generals and loved by his men, became bitter, disillusioned, and it was at this point that Ben...Benedict Arnold...betrayed his country.

Mention the name of Benedict Arnold today and nobody remembers his victories and bravery, only the crime of treason.

The seeds of disillusionment

What causes a person to betray his own ideals? For a person to betray everything he loves and believes he must first feel betrayed.

Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold felt stabbed in the back by jealous fellow officers. He had charges brought against him by British sympathizers. Congress refused to refund money he had spent out of his pocket for war expenses. Eventually, he convinced himself that the leaders of the revolution were incompetent and he lost faith in the cause of liberty.

Once we allow bitterness over another person's actions or words to set in we become consumed with self-justice. Arnold's disillusionment in the revolution was rooted in his concern with personal injustices both real and perceived. Always a prideful man, Arnold's pride became more important than his values.

Pride is a great deceiver. It makes us forget our goal and centers our attention on what we feel we deserve because of our own effort and sacrifice. It changes the focus from how we treat others to how others treat us. Issues are replaced with personalities. Character, the internal force to do right, becomes easily manipulated by a drive to be vindicated no matter what the price.

A wise man once wrote, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Proverbs:11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. NIV).

When you feel betrayed

All of us have been misused or betrayed by a family member, friend, employer, organization, even a church. We can internalize the hurt caused by others until the memory of betrayal controls our thoughts and emotions. At times we allow the faults or abuse of others to weaken our commitment to our own values or even our faith in God.

A Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking for her daughter to be healed. Imagine her surprise when Jesus ignored her. His disciples asked Jesus to send her away. Jesus finally addressed her by saying, "It is not good to take the children's bread and give it to the little dogs."

If anyone ever seemed to have the "right" to feel betrayed it was this woman. Jesus, the one many claimed was the Messiah, had ignored her. His disciples were rude and seemed prejudiced against Canaanites. She could have become disillusioned, claiming Jesus to be a fraud.

Instead, she answered, "True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Jesus commended her faith and healed her daughter.

(Matthew:15:21-28 [21] Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.[22] And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.[23] But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.[24] But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.[25] Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.[26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.[27] And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.[28] Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.).

The Canaanite woman's faith couldn't be swayed by the actions of others. She was too aware of her total dependency upon God.

If beliefs and values are based in spiritual reality, they can't be changed by the imperfections of people. Benedict Arnold felt betrayed by human beings. He responded by betraying his own values and ideals. He serves as a warning on the road to infamy."  The Road to Infamy, article by Gary Petty    From:

"On 21st. September in 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word "traitor." "

This Is the Way... Up Close and Personal

"Before over-analyzing people and their problems with all our good answers and quick solutions, we may simply want to talk, share a meal with them and give them some food for thought.

It's mid-March in Atlanta, Georgia. The city is experiencing a massive dragnet for an escaped convict. Hours before, something had gone terribly wrong. During a court appearance, a man being held on a rape charge had overpowered the attending deputy and shot her dead. The man would shoot and kill three more times. The largest manhunt in Georgia's history is on. He is still on the loose!

As Atlanta goes to sleep, the city is on edge. But the rest of the story is about to begin in the still of the night. It is here that two people will meet. Their close encounter of seven hours will be up close and personal. What transpires will change lives. It will save lives. Perhaps, even now, it will affect your life.

It's 2 a.m. and Ashley Smith is up. She needs to go to the store. She is out of smokes. This isn't a real noble start to a feel-good story. Nonetheless, here's a lady with a bad habit that needs satisfying. Little does she realize she has a rendezvous with purpose. She is about to meet Brian Nichols.

Do you know who I am?

As Ashley returns from the store to the front of her apartment, she feels a gun being stuck into her ribs. It is the calling card of Brian Nichols—"the man on the run."

Nichols is restless. He tells Smith, "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anybody else. So please don't do anything that's going to hurt you." He then securely ties her up with an extension cord, masking tape and a blanket and places her in the bathroom. It seems as if her world is closing in, but she continues to gently reply to every request of the intruder.

As they continue to talk, Nichols seemingly becomes more relaxed and comfortable with Smith. Finally, he unties her and lets her remain with him in the bathroom away from the front area of her apartment. As they continue to chat, Smith tells him she is supposed to see her little girl, Paige, in the morning and asks if she can go see her. The answer comes back, "No!"

She begins to share her personal story a little more deeply. She shares how her husband had been stabbed several years ago and had died in her arms. Smith explains that if something happened to her, Paige, her 5-year-old daughter, wouldn't have a mommy or daddy. She tells him how upset the child would be if she weren't let go. It is then that Smith begins to see a change in Nichols. He comes back with, "Maybe, maybe, I'll let you go. We'll see how things go."

We serve God by serving others

Again, feeling more comfortable, they both go back into the bedroom. Smith asks if she might be able to read. He says, "Sure. What do you want to read?" Smith reaches for her Bible and the current best-selling book titled The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. She turns to chapter 33, which is her study lesson for the day.

As Smith reads the first paragraph out loud, Nichols says, "Stop! Will you read it again?" The chapter begins simply but profoundly with the words, "We serve God by serving others." Embedded within the chapter is the line, "If you only serve when it's convenient for you, you're not a real servant. Real servants do what's needed, even when inconvenient. Are you available to God anytime? Can he mess up your plans without you becoming resentful? As a servant you don't get to choose when and where you will serve."

The chapter continues to talk about what you think your purpose in life is all about. What are you—what are your talents?

A not so pretty life

Smith continues talking to him through the night, always striving to gain his trust. She shares her story, which isn't pretty. A troubled teen, she had had several problems and run-ins with the law. She had married a man who was a hard worker, but who liked hanging out with "the good old boys"—perhaps some of whom were responsible for his stabbing death several years before. Afterwards, she went to live with her mom, and left Paige to be raised by her aunt.

Now, things are getting a little bit better. She has finished a medical assistance course and she is seeing Paige once a week. She even shares her husband's autopsy report. She tells Nichols, "That's what a lot of people will have to go through now, because of what you have done. You need to turn yourself in. No one else needs to die, and you're going to die if you don't."

Nichols looks at Smith's family pictures and asks if he can hold them. He says, "Can I stay here a few days? I just want to eat some real food and watch some TV and sleep and just do normal things that normal people do."

Early in the morning, Smith fixes the hungry man some pancakes. This leaves him overwhelmed—"real pancakes, with butter."

You are here for a reason

But the conversation turns from syrup and butter, back to God and purpose and a reason for being. Smith confronts Nichols with the overpowering question: "Do you believe in miracles? You are in my apartment house for some reason." She continues, "You know, your miracle could be that you need to be caught for this. You need to go to prison and you need to share the word of God with them, with all the prisoners there."

It is now 9 a.m. Nichols asks, "What time do you have to leave?" Smith replies, "I need to be there by 10. So I need to leave at 9:30." Smith appeals to him to turn himself in. But he replies, "Is there anything I can do while you're gone—like hang your curtains or something?"

With that, Smith leaves her apartment, gets into her car and at 9:30 a.m. makes a cell phone call to the police. Shortly thereafter, Nichols surrenders peacefully.

Today, Ashley Smith is in high demand. Not for making pancakes, but for telling how she lived through an incredible hostage situation. Movies are in the making, books are being written, and her technique for talking to assailants is being analyzed by professionals who deal with hostage crises.

Man or monster?

What exactly did she do? First of all, she looked at Nichols as a man, not a monster. What Smith seemed to do was break through fear and indignity by asserting both her and Nichols' humanity and identity. Here were two "lonelies." One life of pain with a purpose met another life of pain going down a dead-end road and said, "Hey stop, and take a look. There truly is something going on here with you."

Smith recognized a man who needed a meal and someone to talk to. She incorporated the principles of the Sermon on the Mount described in Matthew:5:39-44[39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.[40]And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.[41]And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.[42]Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.[43]Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.[44]But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;:

"But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."

The story is a reaffirmation that there is no perfect time or perfect person with whom to share God's grace. We are reminded that so often God uses broken things to point the way to wholeness. Have you ever considered, as Vance Havner so eloquently put in words, that "it takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength"? Yes, God allows broken people, ordinary persons like Ashley Smith, to see the man through the monster.

Long ago, Jesus commented about a man from Samaria who made a difference. He took care of a stranger. The story reminds us that he was in a dangerous neighborhood (the thief-infested road to Jericho), just like Ashley Smith. We are not acquainted with his background other than the fact that he was a foreigner. Jesus chose to mention nothing of his religious pedigree or understanding, but simply commented on his thoroughness and care for the unfortunate.

The man acted upon what he knew, and it is that for which Christ holds each responsible. What did the Samaritan do with the rest of his life? Did the injured man, once healed, go foolishly up the same road he had come down? We don't know. That isn't the point of the story. Yet the world goes away reading the story and calling "good" the man only identified as "the Samaritan."

"We have heard that God is with you"

What will Ashley Smith do with her newfound fame? Time will tell. What will Brian Nichols do in prison? Time will tell. But for the moment it is a story with a lesson. A story of coming to understand life's great purpose. A story as old as the Psalmist musing, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm:8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?). A story about the great purpose being worked out here below in this bit of mud called man.

Ashley Smith learned a bit about living life with a purpose. One day she, Brian Nichols and all the world will learn the full dimension of God's purpose for creating life on earth. It is a story not fully told nor understood in today's world."

Rest of the article by Robin Webber at:


Being Saturday, I don't usually work, but Ray wanted to, and I needed to get the 390 items that I had bought at Lowe's out of my van.

We rounded up some boxes and sorted everything out as we unloaded it. 
One box for all the sanding disks, belt sander belts, etc., all except the hook-and-loop, I kept that. 
One bin for utility knives, we kept the best one. 
Victorian Gingerbread Bracket or Trim
One box for all the "gingerbread trim". 
One box for all the Task Force LED flashlights, and I kept the Energizer LED one. 
Another box for all the different light bulbs, flood, curly, halogen, candle base, and flashlight.
There were new packages of shower curtains, weather stripping, cheap paddle bits, drill bits, (not the quick-connect kind, so I didn't need them), caulking smoothers, tub trim, screws, nuts and bolts, etc.
Wiremold CMK40 Cornermate Cord
There were electrical items like "WireMold" corners, and at least 100 drawer pulls, which I don't need. Hook-Loop-disks

There were 11 packs of 'hook and loop' sandpaper.  We don't care if they are round, as we cut it to fit the Mouse sander.  That is what really I needed, and they are expensive, so those packages really paid for both baskets full of goods.

There were some wood slat blinds, 30" wide.  I'll see if they will work in the grooming room.

The brass door plate will be good for my front door, as I leave it so that Misty can nose it open, when she is done outside.  Paco used to scratch at it when he was trying to come back in, and it left marks.

Securitystriker-plateThe one thing we installed right away was the security striker plate on my back door.  I think it would take a battering ram to break in that door now, as we used 3" screws all the way to the second 2x4 of the frame.

The $70 shell-colored light should look good in my bathroom.  Better than the cheap one that the contractors installed anyway.

Everything we didn't need was boxed and taken up to the guest house attic to put in the Yard Sale Dept.

One thing I kept out, as I can sell it on eBay better than at a yard sale.  The stack kit for a washer/dryer.

Quite a haul, all in all.

It will be a big yard sale, if ever we have a nice cool week.

This was the program about the Antichrist on , today.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

The ending of your first story about Ben, caught me by surprise. Good one.