The astounding prison diary of david berkowitz
- The Prison Yard: Summer
We are clay pots Baked brittle
Under summer's burning sun--
Skin roasted red, darkening dark brown,
Dry and stagnant, and tired.
Empty shells of men gone sour-
Vacant vessels devoid of soul.
The prison yard, A desolate sea
Of rejected humanity
A place filled
With lonely men
(c) David Berkowitz September 14, 1993
A DARK NIGHT
For Thy mercy is great above the heavens: and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds
Last night I tossed and turned and I writhed in pain. I hardly slept. This morning, too, the pain was so intense that I had to stay back from church.
I almost never miss a Sunday service. But today I had to send word with a Christian who lives in my cell block to tell the chaplain that I wouldn’t be there. I know there are well qualified elders in my congregation who could easily fill in for me. I also sent instructions for the congregation to pray for a certain person and some urgent situations.
Yet even though I stayed behind because I can hardly walk, I had an awesome time of worship, prayer, and Scripture reading in my cell.
While my lower back feels like fire and a sharp, stabbing pain is repeatedly striking the area around my right hip, I am instead choosing to focus on the mercy and glory of God.
Today it feels as if the Lord of the universe has been my constant companion, and of course He always is. But He has made His presence known in a personal way. His grace is enough to get me through unrelenting and excruciating pain. And tomorrow He will do the same.
David Berkowitz January 15, 2006
Being Able to Comfort Those Who Are Grieving
In spite of my own struggles and the difficult and
disappointing situations I seem to be encountering these days,
the Lord has been granting me precious opportunities to touch
the lives of my peers.
The hardships a man faces while incarcerated are many.
It's more than being confined to a cell for a certain number of
hours per day. It's more than having to eat bad quality food
or being far from one's home.
Death, for example, is a special enemy for a prisoner.
Everyone has to face death, of course. But I am referring to
the passing away of a man's loved ones.
The pain of losing a family member is by far the worst of
Just this month I've had opportunities to help two men who
have suffered devastating losses. Their grief has been clearly
etched on their faces, and I don't blame them for showing it.
One of these men has been in prison for almost thirty
years. Then came the news that his wife died suddenly, and he
was not prepared.
While another man lost his last remaining family member.
His uncle, whom he was very close to, died unexpectedly from a
heart attack. Now he's alone, and he told me how frightened he
is to now have no one beyond these walls.
Both of them have cried in my arms. The men from my
chapel fellowship have also been helping them to cope. All we
could do is pray for these guys and try to be there for them in
their times of need and deep hurt.
(c)David Berkowitz April 25, 2005
AN EVIL TIME
1975-77 was a time of satanic torment for me. It was a period of
emotional turmoil and anguish, of confusion and
pressure to be a servant of the devil.
This was an evil time. I regret all that has happened.
I completely renounced my previous pact and all of my former prayers to Satan.
I am so sorry for all the lost lives and for all the pain I caused others.
Yet there comes a time when the shame of the past has tostop. Mourning
must come to an end. There has to be a realization that all the wishing, the grieving and the sadness I have over such devastation cannot and will not change anything.
There must come a time when these negative feelings and emotions
must themselves be laid to rest. Yes, I should be punished for my crimes. I do not have a problem with this.
Becoming a Christian while in prison should never be a "ticket" out of prison. God forbid!
Still, I have long ago made my peace with God. JesusChrist has forgiven me.
He has healed my mind and He's broken apart the spiritual chains which Satan had wrapped
around me in the past.
Today I am that I am forgiven and to be in my right mind. To have peace, joy, and satisfaction, knowing that I am a child of God, that I am loved and cared for. This is worth it all. What else do I need?
(c) David Berkowitz April 5, 2002
ANNIVERSARY OF MY ARREST
Today, when I returned to my cell at the end of the work day, I sat down on my bunk and began to give thanks to the Lord. You see, it was on the 19th of August, 1977, that I stood on the brink of eternity. For it was at this time that police officers surrounded me with their guns drawn.
I could have been shot dead right on the spot! If any one of those officers opened fire, which could have easily happened on that dark street, I would have gone straight to Hell. For at that time (1977) I was a demon-possessed, tormented, lost and evil man who hated Jesus Christ.
The Lord in his mercy protected me because He knew there would come a day when my sins would be forgiven, that I would repent and believe the gospel.
I was arrested in 1977, and in 1987 the Lord began to soften my heart and touch me. It had been a long gap in between with even another brush with death in 1979, when a inmate slit my throat with a razor blade. I could have died right then on a cellblock tier in the infamous Attica Prison.
Yet here I stand today, praising God and thanking Him. I know I am undeserving of His mercy. But with each day, not only am I grateful, but I am learning that God's mercy is like His love. It cannot be measured.
(C)David BerkowitZ August 10, 2000
And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. Psalm 50:15
Because God is always merciful and kind He will never ignore or despise the cries of his children. And for many of those who are in jail or prison, mental illness has been their lifelong 'day of trouble' In addition, for decades, correctional facilities have become the warehouses and dumping grounds for those who have mental health issues, and who have run afoul of the law. The biggest reason for this being that there are not enough psychiatric centers and hospitals to handle everyone, or so it has been claimed. This has been an often discussed issue in the media and among prison and mental health officials. So I'll leave it at that.
However, this afternoon, as I entered the facility's Intermediate Care Program (E-North) to visit the residents, sixty-four in all, I sensed the Lord's presence in a unique yet gentle way. And as I looked around at the faces of the men, my heart was touched with compassion. Not that I ever lacked compassion. After all, this is why I chose to work here in the first place. So that I could befriend these troubled men, give them hope, and share the love of God. Yet, for some reason, today was different. My heart was warmed in a special way that I cannot describe..
As I walked along the tiers in E-North to chat with and visit my inmate friends, I had a desire to silently pray for each man. In Matthew's gospel account, the Lord Jesus was quoted as saying "For ye have the poor always with you" (Matthew 26:11). True! Poor people exist throughout the planet. but may I humbly add that in this fallen world we also have the mentaly ill and psychologically tormented with us, too. And God, I believe, sent me to these men to tell them that He loves and cares for them very much. (c) David Berkowitz April 4, 2011
"I KILLED THE DUDE"
The idea of forming their own gang was first hatched when Styler (not his real name), and an older brother, and a couple of friends from the neighborhood, was at the house of Styler's parents. They were drinking beers and smoking "weed" (marijuana) at the time. They wanted to set up an outside base for their operation of selling drugs, and whatever other criminal activities they had going on at the time.
Then, at some point, Styler, his brother, and their friends, decided that the intersection of 145th Street and Rockaway Boulevard in the South Jamaica section of Queens (one of New York City's five boroughs) would be the perfect spot. Thus this nondescript intersection in a working-class neighborhood would become the central location for their gang. They dubbed themselves the 145 Klick". Other gangs were in operation nearby.
According to Styler, it was a neighborhood overrun with teenagers and young adults who lacked direction and positive role models, while at the same time they'd look up to those who wore "gold rings on every finger but their thumbs, while carrying big guns under their shirts." These were the ones, Styler said, who got "respect".
Styler, whom I got to know quite well, was the youngest of nine children--four girls and five boys, all of whom were raised by both parents. Styler said that his parents were "religious, but nice". They were Jehovah Witnesses. He described his dad as hard-working, and his mother as a good cook. "We wasn't no ghetto folks", Styler assured me.
During a moment of reflection, Styler lamented that out of eight other siblings, only he and one other brother has ever been arrested. Most of his siblings have done very well for themselves, he said. Styler has now spent a total of sixteen years in prison. He confessed that he has no one to blame but himself. "The drug business is wild," Styler declared. "People get killed real quick." He himself admitted to killing a "dude" who was pushing in on his gang's turf. "It's deadly", Styler said of the drug trade. "The streets get bloody". He quickly added, "No survivors!" As he said this, however, he pounded with his fist on a table in the dayroom to help emphasize his point. "No survivors!" he repeated, still pounding the table top.
He's right. Gangs and their criminal activities have turned many a neighborhood in the United States into a modern day killing field. And many who are in gangs have seen more violence than many of our military troups who are presently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At least Styler was keeping it real. He admitted that, if not for his
getting arrested, he'd probably be dead now, pumped full of bullets by a rival. He said his brother was the "brains" of the gang's operation, and he was the top enforcer. Styler bluntly admitted that, back in his younger days, his mindset was to kill anyone who got in the way of the 145 Klick. In addition to the homicide for which he was found guilty of committing, for which he received a sentence of 25-years to life, he is also a suspect in two other "cold case" gang arelated murders, which he did not do.
Long ago, while Styler was awaiting trial on what he is now in prison for, Styler went and joined the notorious "Bloods" gang, which has its deadly tentacles spread across many parts of the world. In jail he was tested, and he proved himself well. Styler said that within a few months he was declared to be a "soldier".
Today, however, many years later, Styler has grown into adulthood. While still officially a "Blood," he looks back with sadness and regret at where this road has taken him. His brother ended up doing a ten year stretch in federal prison for other crimes, and Styler says he seldom has contact with him anymore. While the dozen or so other men who'd found their way into the 145 Klick either died, or ended up in jail too, or joined another gang, as Styler did, or disappeared altogether. In reality, the 145 Klick was out of commission within a year. It's been forgotten about and although he won't say it, I believe Styler knows his life up to this point has been a big waste.
These days Styler says his biggest goal is to educate young blacks about the gangs. He says he is upset that all the gangs work against each other. He has a naive idea that if all gang members worldwide would join together and vow to do wholesome and humanitarian works, that out of this will come a "movement of brotherly love". He added that even all forms of bullying among youth would "come to a stop". In his view, gangs, he said, have the ability to "change the world" for the good. That if they'd but redirect their energy and efforts toward doing good, as opposed to doing bad, the planet would then begin to know peace. I don't think this is likely, however. But I kept my thought to myself.
In the time he's been here, Styler has only attended a couple of our chapel's services, often bemoaning that he cannot get up in time for church on Sundays. Our service always starts promptly at 10:A.M. But Styler insists he's a "night person". On weekends he'd usually listen to music on his radio until four or five o'clock in the morning. Because of this, Styler is first going to sleep when the rest of the prison's population is just getting up.
Styler means well, however yet he refuses to leave the Bloods; these days he is only considered by them to be a token member. His days of jumping other inmates and beating them up or slashing someone with a razor blade are over. He says the "wild stuff" is only for the younger guys. Now he just wants to focus on his plan for world peace.
He insists that all the gangbangers (slang for gang members) should focus on raising their children well. "This is nice," I said, but added, "If a guy is in a violent street gang and eventually ends up in prison, how is he going to properly raise his kids?" Styler, dreamer that he is, thought about this for a moment. He then gave me a weak shrug and said he didn't have the answser. Neither do I. (c) David Berkowitz April 11, 2011
THE GANG CULTURE
Styler, whom I'd written about in my last entry, is an interesting person to talk with. I've known him for about a year, and he is very knowledgeable about the so called gang culture. I believe, as well, that he sees me, an older white man, as something of a father figure. Styler is in his late thirties, and he is black. He came to prison at the age of twenty-two.
He can be outspoken and blunt, with a toungue that can be as sharp as the razor blade he once carried with him just in case he had to defend himself, or slash someone to help even an old score. Like many young black men, Styler says making fast money is the only means of escaping a life of mediocrity. His father, a hard-working and honest man, labored eight to ten hours a day, five days a week. With this he was able to make a decent living while supporting a wife and raising nine children to adulthood, including Styler.
But Styler craved adventure as well as the feeling of glamour that came with belonging to a gang. And it was this kind of false glamour that is so often portrayed in movies and on television, in books, and by an array of rap and hip-hop music artists whose songs about the "gangsta" lifestyle make joining a street gang, or in Styler's case starting one up, seem like the coolest thing to do.
Frankly, both prisons and graveyards are full of young men and women who thought this way, too. That being in a gang was a good thing, and a way of getting respect, power and money. But, as with Styler, it turned out to be an illusion, and a lie.
For Styler and his crew of criminal friends, controlling a busy intersection by setting up a drug spot at this location was considered by them to be a big thing. In retrospect, he regrets this now. Yet his mind seems to display a strange kind of mental defense mechanism, too, which I find disturbing. For he has somehow convinced himself that while gangbanging is wrong, today he has a new role of uniting the world's gang members in order to bring about positive change and world peace. Talk about self-deception!
Styler is basically a nice guy. I feel sorry for him, but at the same time, I am angry at the foolish lies he once believed in. And these are the same lies that lure young persons into gangs today. In my honest opinion, gangs are for losers. To me they represent a culture of death, while openly displaying a false glamour that is the equivalent of fool's gold.
God, however has a better plan for everyone. I believe this with all my heart. (C) David Berkowitzx April 13 2011
A GOOD DAY
I had a busy but good day. I did my job this morning helping a sight-impaired inmate get around the facility. After lunch I then went to my second job assignment at the Intermediate Care Program (also known as E-North), where I assist and try to help those who've been diagnosed and are being treated for various emotional and mental health issues. But now that it's the evening I have the rest of the time for myself. Later I will take a shower and head to the mailbox to get my my mail ready to go out in the morning.
One thing that I am especially thankful for, however, is the flock of common sparrows who gather every morning right outside of my window. For whatever reasons they like this spot. As a nature lover, I am happy to be the recipient of their musical chirps, tweets and whistles. I love it!
I've written about thse birds in previous journal entries. I'm also convinced they know I enjoy their musical sounds because, many times when my cell's window is open. they can see me through the wide screen. When I am sitting on my bunk my head is only a few feet away from them. They exhibit no fear. For me they are a gift from God. I treasure their presence. (c) David Berkowitz April 15 2011
NOT YET SPRING
Spring is not quite here yet in upstate New York. It's an overcast day and a strong wind has been blowing nonstop. Earlier this morning I heard on the news about dozens of powerful tornadoes rampaging through the south and the midwest, while places like Minnesota and North Dakota have terrible flooding. and, approximately 600 square miles of Texas grasslands are being consumed by a seemingly unstoppable wild fire that has already killed one firefighter and destroyed hundreds of homes.
No doubt many people are suffering now because of the effects of such bad weather. Almost two dozen have been killed and many more have been injured in these events. This is a fallen world and we're all subject to the whims of weather as well as other naturally occurring events such as earthquakes and tsunamies. Within minutes a home that a family has lived in, perhaps for decades, could be reduced to splinters or washed away in a flood.
Such tragedies, as sad as they are, serve to remind us that life is brief. Whatever possessions we own today, could be all gone by tomorrow. In an instant anyone can be reduced to owning nothing more than the clothes he's wearing. Such is the uncertaity of life.
However, for those of us who have Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we can have full assurance by the word of God that we are destined to one day live in a heavenly city with a secure foundation whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10) (C) David Berkowitz April 16, 2011
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7a
I believe the Lord has directed me to remain shut in with Him for the weekend. So this is what I'm doing. I'm to devote myself to answering mail and writing in my journal. I am far behind with both.
In fact, one of the letters I plan to write is to a youth pastor from the town of Hamburg, Pennsylvania. He recently showed his teenage audience a testimony film I did called SON OF SAM/SON OF HOPE. He told me that, after the film was aired, twenty kids were baptized in the church's youth center.
I don't know anyone at this church. But a surprise letter from the church's youth pastor certainly touched my heart and gave me lots of encouragement.
Now I am to spend the weekend resting in God's presence, while working in His power. And while this may sound like a paradox, it really isn't. Although writing is a lot of work, I sat behind my typewriter for at least five hours yesterday, and just as many hours today. I find it to be rejuvenating. I suppose it's because I'm doing something that I love. When someone does what he loves, it's hard to become tired and weary. This then is how it is for me when it comes to writing. (C) David Berkowitz April 17 2011
WHY I WRITE
Writing is one of the ways in which I hope to honor and glorify my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I mentioned in yesterday's journal entry, I love to write. And I will confess, too, that I have much to learn on how to write well. Nevertheless it is through the medum of writing that I could best express muyself.
In addition, when I feel overwhelmed, I write. When I am tired, I write. When I am anxious or frustrated, I write. And when I become bored with the routine of prison life, I write. Finally, when I think I have something worthwhile to say to either the church or the world, I write. And this is all I have to say!
(c) David Berkowitz April 18 2011
A PAINFUL PATH
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
While the Christian's life should be a joyful one, it is not at all an easy one. The Scriptures make this clear. The child of God, as he lives in a fallen world, will encounter much in the way of trials and tribulations. In modern English we may refer to these as problems and challenges. Either way, it is through much pain that we will enter into the kingdom of God.
As I have learned, and as I have told many of my fellow Christians, our journey is often a painful one. And this is because we have to die to our fleshly and self-sufficient ways. Jesus has to put to death whatever is not like Him. This is part of the purging, shaping and molding process to remove what is dead and carnal so that the life of Christ can have its way and reign in each of us.
Such a death to self combined with maturing as a living by faith Christian is a life long process that will not be completed until we're home in heaven. It's just the way it is. It is what Jesus has ordained for us. But it is all good because it is all from God. And knowing these truths and realizing that there will be pain and difficulties, and that everything is for a glorious purpose, helps to make a child of God's suffering bearable. My victory is indeed in Christ alone, and in this I have joy. (c) David Berkowitz April 21, 2011
LETTER TO A FRIEND
On this rainy Monday morning I wrote a letter to a friend to hopefully provide him with some encouragement. Like many Chistians, including myself, we can easily become weary and worn-out by the many stresses that life brings our way. As with anyone else, we must face our own problems and difficulties which can take a toll on a person physically, emotionally, and even spiritualy.
So after I said a prayer for my friend, I told him to keep going forward on his journey with God, and not to allow anything or anyone to deter him from this objective. I said, "Always allow the Holy Spirit to continually fill your heart with His peace, joy and power." I also advised him to keep his spiritual eyes on Jesus, and not on people. Instead, I recommended he pray for those who profess to have faith in Christ but appear to be indifferent and apathetic to the word of God and to the church.
Then, in the final paragraph of my letter, I asked my friend to read and ponder a passage from the Old Testament book of Lamentations. It's one of my favorite passages, I wrote. It is a section of the Scriptures that I try to read often because it has been so helpful and uplifting: Lamentations 3:21-26
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord."
(c( David Berkowitz April 25 2011
I am weary with my groaning, all the night I make my bed to swim; I water my couch with tears. Psalm 6:6
I confess that I often find myself facing many personal difficulties and painful trials, both within my own heart and mind, and within the prison itself. And these things or situations, both individually and together, cause lots of anguish. I am troubled about the spiritually destitute condition of my family, the often times barren spiritual condition of my church, and other matters that I've chosen not to discuss at this time. And I also know that, when it comes to the body of Christ, everyone, at least every so often, falls short of being a "good" Christian, including myself. I'll be the first to confess that I am far from perfect, and my failures are many.
Nevertheless, in spite of my own pain and anguish of heart, and the grief I have because I miss my family, and the remorse I carry over the past, my trust and hope is in the Lord. He remains the source of my joy and strength. Even when I am hurting, I am still "more than a conqueror" through Jesus Christ who loves me.
Yes, I can relate to David's tears. I too have shed many of my own.
(c) David Berkowitz April 28, 2011
A Letter to the Baltimore Sun
David Berkowitz Asks Sniper to Stop
By SEANNA ADCOX
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - "Son of Sam'' serial killer David Berkowitz has written a letter telling the Washington-area sniper to "stop hurting innocent people.''
"I feel that I have been feeling this person's anger and rage toward law enforcement,'' Berkowitz wrote in a letter sent from Sullivan Correctional Facility, the maximum security prison where he is doing time for his killing spree 25 years ago. "I felt this person has a tremendous rage against the FBI, or anyone of the various law enforcement organizations that are in this area, and maybe towards the U.S. government in general.''
Berkowitz sent the three-page letter to Rita Cosby, senior Washington correspondent for Fox News Channel, after Cosby wrote him seeking his comment on the sniper attacks, Fox News spokesman Paul Schur said. Cosby read excerpts on the air Monday.
The letter, dated Oct. 16, represents Berkowitz's first public comments about the shooter who has killed nine people and wounded three others in Virginia, Maryland and Washington since Oct. 2.
"Hopefully, it will be over soon with the arrest of the person or persons responsible,'' he wrote.
Berkowitz, 49, terrorized New York during 1976-77, killing six people and wounding seven others. His nickname came from a note he left at the sixth of eight shooting scenes: "I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam.''
Police arrested the former postal employee in August 1977 after tracking down a parking ticket he received at the last murder scene. He confessed to the murders the next year, claiming his neighbor's dog had ordered him to kill.
Like Berkowitz's "Son of Sam'' missive, the Washington-area sniper also has left messages.
Investigators found a tarot card Oct. 7 at a Bowie, Md., middle school, where the sniper wounded a 13-year-old boy. It read, "Dear Policeman, I am God.'' The shooter also left a message and phone number Saturday night near a Virginia steakhouse where the latest victim was shot.
In his letter, Berkowitz speculated as to the sniper's sanity.
"I am not sure it is one person or two, if this is a tormented and raging psychopath or a terrorist, or even an American terrorist such as Timothy McVeigh was,'' he wrote. Regardless, Berkowitz wrote, "he must stop hurting innocent people.''
Berkowitz, denied parole in July in his first appearance before a parole board, is serving six consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences. He will next be eligible for parole in June 2004.
Raised Jewish, Berkowitz converted to Christianity in 1987. He now counsels other inmates with emotional problems and serves as an escort for blind inmates.
THE CORN STALK
The corn stalk
Stands tall not rigid,
Swayed by a tender breeze.
One thin stem it stands on,
Leaning north or south with ease.
But man is most unyielding,
And won't bend on his two stems.
Yet they both will wither
And wilt down to the ground.
The man he fades to ashes,
The corn just fades to brown.
(c) David Berkowitz October 17, 1989
October 2000 Refreshing Tears, Intercessory Prayer, Mike's Deliverance, Jesus' Compassion, God's Call to Write
November 2000 Holy Conviction, Encouraging a Brother, Witchcraft in America on TV. Thanksgiving Thoughts on America
December 2000 The Molding of the Lord, Sin More Deadly Than Cancer, KKK Leader Saved, Persecution, Prison Baptism, Tribute to Departed Loved Ones
This evening we had an awesome service and the Lord was truly moving. Some of us were on our faces before the Lord crying rivers of tears and worshipping Jesus at a level and intensity I have not experienced in a long time. I believe that in the spiritual realm a major breakthrough had taken place.
I came out of this service totally refreshed and very determined to go right back to the front-lines of this warfare. My heart has been fixed upon the Lord, my commitment to serve Him renewed.
(c) David Berkowitz October 11, 2000
In the past several weeks my prayer life seems to be growing stronger, and I have been led to make intercessory prayers for other nations at a level greater than ever before in my walk with the Lord.
The world is in such upheaval now. Surely any Christian can feel the “birth pangs” of the earth. At times I could almost feel the fear, anguish and pain of many troubled hearts.
We have such a wonderful, awesome and “eternal” message of hope to share with others, the gospel of Jesus Christ. How we need to share the story of our Savior and the story of redemption more than ever before.
c) David Berkowitz October 12, 2000
Mike T., a young man in his 20’s from Carbondale, Illinois, wrote to tell me how my testimony has been an encouragement to him and how that he had been delivered from his drug addiction. He told me that he has been “drug free” for almost three years because of what Christ had done in his life.
My testimony had nothing to do with his salvation. He was already a Christian when he came across my testimony and wanted to write to encourage me.
When I wrote back to Mike to thank him, I exhorted this young man to continue to follow Christ no matter what. I know how strong the pull of the world is on Christians, and Satan waits around every corner, so to speak, with a new temptation.
I also told Mike that America’s prisons are filled with men and women who have been overtaken in their addictions, and who seem unable, this far, to break free from their addictions.
I likewise told him that I can see the destruction that alcohol and other drugs have on people because a majority of the men in prison are in for drug related crimes and for being vilest while under the influence of booze.
Fortunately for him, Mike was set free from his addiction without having to come to prison. He told me that he found his way into a “spiritual treatment program,” something like Teen Challenge.
He is so fortunate not to have experienced imprisonment!
(c)David Berkowitz October 13, 2000
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few’ Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest."
I thank the Lord for all He has been doing in the prisons. I thank Him also for Christians who’ve been faithful and willing to answer the Lord’s call. For when Jesus was walking on this earth, He went everywhere touching hurting lives with the love of God. His heart was moved with compassion when Jesus saw the scattered multitudes…a multitude of people with a multitude of problems!
And in this passage the Lord said something which touched me deeply. He looked at His disciples and said that they were to pray for more workers for the harvest field. To me this was amazing because, as the Lord, He could have done it all Himself. He could have called battalions of angels to come forth, appear on the scene, and then go out into the world to carry on all these works of compassion.
Instead He looked upon his human disciples (like He is looking upon us today) and told them to do the work of reaching out to hurting humanity, and to pray for still more workers to come along. How humbling this is to realize that God has chosen weak man with all man’s sins and failings to carry out such awesome tasks.
(c) David Berkowitz October 21, 2000
Yesterday’s Saturday evening service was awesome! I received a wonderful filling of the Holy Spirit. The Lord really moved in our midst, and it was one of the most anointed services we’ve had in a long time.
The message was about Paul and his apostleship and how the Lord used him to evangelize the Gentiles. Anyhow, at the end of the service the minister from New Jersey was told by the Lord to call some of us up front to the altar to receive prophetic words.
I was the first one they were led to call, and of course I had no idea what would be spoken over me. The message from the Lord was that I was to start writing, and that the Lord was from this moment going to begin opening many “great doors” for me to share my testimony via writing.
Terrific! I was jumping up and down in my spirit. This was a very happy moment for me after such a long journey through the wilderness of disappointment and discouragement.
The minister asked me to lift my hands in the air. She then anointed my hands with oil and told me to “start writing.” She said that the testimony was to go “throughout the world.”
Well North Pole here I come! Ha! I left the chapel so energized. I still feel wound-up and I could hardly sleep last night. Now I know how Elijah the prophet felt when he ran from Beersheba to Mount Horeb in forty days on only one meal (1 Kings 19:7,8).
(c)David Berkowitz October 22, 2000
Today’s message for me comes from Psalm 66:18. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
This one verse from Psalm 66 sure is powerful. The Lord cut me deep with this one today. The Bible says that God’s word is like a “two-edged sword”.
Iniquity and a personal relationship with the Lord just do not go together. Sin and salvation do not mix. It’s like oil and water. It has to be one or the other. At least these are some of the insights God gave me as I pondered this message while in my cell.
And this verse alone was enough to bring me to my knees crying out for forgiveness, repenting, and allowing the Lord to cleanse and renew me.
Many times we do not need to hear a long sermon to bring conviction. Today it just took one verse from the Bible. It was all the Lord needed.
In the gospel accounts of the Life of Jesus, I can see that He was able to completely communicate what He needed to say with just a few words or only one sentence. This is a good lesson for me.
(c) David Berkowitz November 1, 2000
Today I received a letter from a Christian in Minnesota who had this to say:
“I cannot express what a blessing receiving your last letter was to me. On the day you wrote (October 25th) I went into the hospital for surgery… I received your letter while still in the hospital. I was so miserable there and your letter brought me great comfort.
“I had prayed the night before that God would send me comfort and He did, as He always does, in His own special way.
“I thank God that He has servants like you, who are being led daily by Him to minister to the hurting.”
Well what can I say except “Thank you, Lord Jesus!” This is what He has called me to do, and this is just about what He has me to do every day. It is all God, and He gets all the glory.
David Berkowitz November 5, 2000
Today I received a letter from a friend who is going through a tough time of discouragement. In my response back to him I said that we have to keep trusting in Christ and allow Him to sustain us through difficult times. I told him that we “cannot go it alone”.
This world is too cold and cruel and the devil is too demented and evil for a Christian to make it without Jesus being first in his or her life.
And right now I am watching our first real snow fall as I am typing this journal entry. Here in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains winter often comes early and uninvited.
Also, I was encouraged to see that ABC-TV just had a short special about Wicca and Witchcraft in America. It was aired a short time ago during the 6PM “Prime Time” news.
While much of it was sympathetic and neutral (unfortunately), thankfully there was one minister who, when interviewed for his 30 second slot, stated that “all witchcraft” is inherently evil. That all of it ultimately leads to deeper forms of spiritual bondage, and sometimes to outright Satanism.
I was glad to see that the minister was allowed to speak clearly and intelligibly, and that no one tried to make him look “crazy,” as the media often tries to do with sincere Christian ministers.
I can only say “Amen” to all of this!
(c) David Berkowitz November 21, 2000
Today being “Thanksgiving”, I was able to spend all of the morning in my cell reading my Bible and praying. It was good to be off from my job assignment and to have some quiet time with the Lord.
Earlier this afternoon I wrote to Don Dickerman, a dear brother in Christ who lives in Texas. The Lord had me share this with him:
“Don, America is entering a dark period, and in the midst of the trials, storms and ‘downturns’ that are ahead, many foundations will be shaken and many will be yanked away from their complacent lifestyles.. “Be ready to be used by the Holy Spirit to minister to all the lost and hurting, both those in and out of prison.”
The Lord also gave me a Scripture passage for Don, and could not this message be for all the body of Christ? Surely I believe so. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10.
(c) David Berkowitz November 23, 2000
The time seems to be passing so quickly. In less than a month 2000 will be history. I pray for this nation and for our churches. Perhaps the Lord will give us a little more time to repent and to turn away from the sins that displease Him.
Lately I have been doing okay in some areas but in others I have been struggling. I have strong faith, so this is not the issue. It is just that for now God’s hand of chastening is resting upon my life.
In His word it says that when we as true Christians are bearing fruit, He will “prune” us so that we can bear even more fruit. Pruning is painful! And God is talking about developing the “fruits of the Spirit” in our lives (John 15:1-15).
You see, the Lord wants to make us sweeter so that our lives can be a blessing to others. A fruit tree grows its fruit for others to enjoy; it doesn’t grow fruit for itself. These ‘fruits of the Spirit’, then, are for others to taste the goodness of God through our lives.
So at this time I have been in great internal pain. Jesus is now doing and inside job on me. And while this might be painful, in the end it will make me into a better Christian, more holy, more yielded to Him, and more loving.
(c) David Berkowitz December 6, 2000
“SOMETHING MORE DEADLY THAN CANCER”
The time is passing so quickly. It’s hard to believe this year is almost over. Last year at this time many were worrying about “Y2K”. But Y2K was never the problem. Rather the problem was and still is “sin”!
It is sin that is killing our nation, wrecking havoc in the Church, and hurting and destroying our families and even our very lives.
This is what the Lord was showing me today and what I am putting down in my personal journal. Today God sent me to Isaiah chapters 58 and 59. The Lord really opened up these passages to me this morning. It’s time to scream “Sin”! It’s time to cry out that there is sin being practiced among God’s people, and these sins will eventually ruin us. However, there is still time for each person to repent and to turn away from their sins and to get closer to the Lord.
And I too need to turn away from sin. For it is sure going to kill me if I keep doing the things I’ve been doing. But God is merciful. He wants us to be holy and obedient, and to be spiritually prosperous. He wants our lives to be as a “well watered garden” full of joy, peace, and hope.
Yet as is often the case, our sins are standing in the way of our spiritual progress. They are quenching the Holy Spirit in us, are separating us from having a good relationship with Jesus Christ. And, as I said, these sins (whatever they are) will eventually damage each of us and will cause the church to be robbed of her power and sacred anointing. Her light of hope will be weakened unless we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, stop practicing sin. Sin always kills! Psalm 66:18 1 John 1:9
(c) David Berkowitz December 10, 2000
God sure has a sense of humor! Only the Lord can put a former Ku Klux Klan leader and a Jewish guy like me together as brothers in Christ.
Earlier last year I began to receive mail from a man, Roger, from Alabama. He loves the Lord and was happy to share his testimony with me.
Roger was an influential person within the ranks of the Klan. But then God got hold of him and turned his life around. Today he, along with his wife, Jill, attends many “all black” and mixed churches where they invite him to share his story.
God completely changed his heart and today Roger has nothing but love for blacks, Jews, and everyone else. It has been a joy to get his letters which are always so full of energy and encouragement.
Several weeks ago Roger asked for my prayers because presently active members in the Klan have been threatening him as well as his family. Right now a large church in New York City is praying for him.
He also likes to share my testimony in the churches. His wife, who ministers at a local youth shelter, also shares my testimony with the teenagers.
It’s the same old story all across America, even in rural Alabama: teens caught up in dugs, gangs, depression, struggling with peer pressure, feelings of hopelessness, broken and dysfunctional homes, and their parents who are struggling with their own problems.
And it is the same old problem: “Sin”! There’s sin in the cities, and there’s sin in the suburbs. Sin is wherever people are because it is in our hearts and is a part of our fallen nature. Only through Jesus the Messiah can sin be taken away.
(c)David Berkowitz December 14, 2000
A friend from Minnesota wrote a letter recently asking me what to tell a young woman whom he’s been ministering to. This woman is a schoolteacher who lives in Togo, West Africa. Her family has begun to persecute her and show hatred towards her for giving her life to Christ. She comes from a family of witches and, according to my friend, both of her parents and her sister are high ranking village witches.
He is in contact with this “sister” via e-mail. After some prayer the Lord gave me Matthew 5:43-46 and Mathew 10:34-36. I told Mark that he needs to tell her to pray for those family member, that they get saved and delivered. Prayer changes things and God can soften any heart.
The above passages from the Gospel of Matthew deal with being hated, even by family members, for following Jesus. The Lord says we are to love our “enemies”, to do good to them and to lift up each one in prayer.
He will e-mail all this back to her. And I know that this dear sister in Christ will overcome because “Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
(c)David Berkowitz December 17, 2000
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the lowly things of the world, and the things which are despised…” 1 Corinthians 1:27,28
I am so thankful and happy that the Messiah has chosen me to be one of His witness and a minister of His grace. If it were up to mankind, I would not be chosen. Instead I would be rejected and thrown into the deepest, hottest hell.
But God who delights in showing mercy has come to earth to save sinners. The central themes of the Holy Bible are that man is a sinner and is in rebellion towards God. But that the Lord loves people so much that He came to earth to die for our sins and pay the penalty for our wicked deeds, so that we might be forgiven and restored to fellowship with Him.
Wherever there is hatred, Jesus comes to bring love. Wherever there is racism, Christ comes to bring brotherhood. Wherever there is pain the Lord comes to bring healing. And wherever there are sinners, Jesus Christ comes and offers His forgiveness.
No sin is to great, no deed is so wicked that it cannot be washed away by the blood of the Savior. No life is so hopeless that he or she cannot be given a new start.
(c) David Berkowitz December 19, 2000
Another year is almost here and the Lord has brought me safely through. I have no complaints. He has been more than faithful. God has been blessing the services and Bible studies at the prison I am in. I have a born again chaplain who loves the Lord.
Earlier today, in addition to our morning worship service, we had a special baptismal service in the afternoon. All the new Christians were baptized, and each got the chance to share his testimony with everyone else just before he would be immersed in the water.
I had tears in my eyes as I listened to each young brother give God the glory. Each man was thankful for what God is going to do with each man in the future as they stay faithful to Him.
During the baptismal service I had my hands full because I was one of the volunteer “mop men”. We have a full size tank and there was water all over the place. I had to help mop the chapel as well as the corridors leading to the men’s room where each inmate had to go to change his clothes.
Then to top it off, the siphon pump which was supposed to pump all the water out of the tank and into a utility sink quite a distance away decided to break down. It would not pump the water back out of the tank. So me and the chaplain plus a few other inmates had to get buckets and empty it a bucket at a time.
It took several hours and it was a lot of work but it was fun. I had a good time praising God, working, and fellowshipping with the brethren. We also sang many songs together.
(c)David Berkowitz December 26, 2000
As this year closes out I have been spending time thanking the Lord and meditating upon all the good things God has done for me this year. There were many trials of my faith, but there were also many victories.
There were also some personal losses of several dear friends, Christians who were a blessing to me and who shared some of their loves with me. They prayed for me often, helped with the ministry, and gave my spirit a lot of encouragement when I was at my low points.
This year my brothers Pat Cicala and Dick Williams went home to be with the Lord, as well as my dear sister in Christ, Angela Hewitt.
I am so grateful to each of them and so thankful for their love. I am a better man and a better Christian because of these three, and I look forward to the day when we will all meet again around the throne of glory.
While the passing of our friends and family may be painful for us, I know that our loss is heaven’s gain. They’ve already received big homecomings. The Lord was right there behind the veil to greet each one as they stepped into eternity. For Pat, Dick, and Angela, their trials, troubles and struggles are all over. I cannot wait for the day that I too will be able to see my Messiah face to face, to look into Jesus’ eyes and tell Him that I love Him, and to thank Him personally for all He has done for me.
I also want to give my Savior a big hug. He is truly King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Not many people are so privileged to hug a king. But Jesus is a King who will gladly receive hugs.
There is one particular inmate whom the Lord has put in my heart to encourage and help. His name is Michael. He has no one. Long ago abandoned by his family, Michael is doing a lengthy sentence for setting fire to a youth detention center which caused the death of another young resident.
Michael has been a wanderer on this earth since his youth. Presently he is assigned to the Intermediate Care Program Unit because of his emotional problems and his anger. But the Lord said to befriend him and he really is a nice person. He’s not a Christian (yet) but I feel he’s getting there. I’ve been working one-on-one with Michael for more than a year.
This morning he was in church which is the best place for him. We sat together as we always do when he comes. Thus far he only comes on Sunday, but this is a start. And today he actually behaved himself. Sometimes he acts up in church and makes noises. “Lord, give me patience!”
This past Friday, however, I found Michael in the recreation yard. It was bitterly cold and we had to keep moving to stay warm. At this time he was in one of his moods and he lashed out at me again and again. What anger! He’s really hurting inside.
I spent the afternoon talking to him about Jesus Christ. Yet in spite of the abuses I sometimes take, it will be worth it in the end to one day see Michael surrender to Christ and be saved from his sins and delivered from his demons. Man truly is a sinner, but Christ is a savior. Amen!
And this will be my last journal entry for the year!
(c) David Berkowitz December 31, 2000
SON OF SUFFERING, BE READY, MACK, MACK-IN-THE-BOX, MORE ON MACK,
REMEMBERING ANDY TANT, THE CHOICE IS YOURS, IT IS WORTH IT, DIFFICULTIES AND VICTORIES, HATING GOD, A SECRET PLACE, CLOSING OUT THE YEAR, NATIONAL INQUIRER
SON OF SUFFERING
The Lord has been speaking to my heart that I am now entering into a new phase of ministry. Starting several months into next year God is going to be expanding the outreach of my testimony, and this for His glory.
However, He has also been warning me, and it has already begun, that I am going to suffer. This suffering will be of the mental and emotional kind rather than physical.
Even some Christians whom I have known for many years will be turning against me for no logical reason. Inexplicable things will happen. Many spiritual struggles lay ahead. But after a long season of these struggles and conflicts, huge victories will be achieved. God's work will be advanced.
Godly men and women of old have undergone such trials. So have many saints today. I am no exception. Therefore, the "Son of Hope," may, for a season, have to become the "Son of Suffering".
This is not something I want, nor am I looking forward to more hardships. It is simply the cost of following the Lord Jesus, who was the greatest Sufferer of us all. He was the "Man of Sorrows" Who was well acquainted with grief.
After all, what is my life to be but a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1) And God is faithful. He will not allow me to handle more than I could bear.
Besides, I cannot tell God what to do or not to do. He is the Potter, and I am merely the clay in His hands. Thus I am learning, too, to accept everything that comes my way as His will. I know that, ultimately, good will result.
(c)David Berkowitz December 1, 2002
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer, to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
1 Peter 3:15
Be prepared to minister to and help many confused, troubled and despondent people in the United States of America in the days and months to come.
Poverty, homelessness, loneliness, alcohol and drug use, as well as a "spirit of despair" are now coming into many lives like unwanted thieves.
Satan, as we know, always desires to steal, kill and destroy. But Christ has come that people may have a spiritually abundant life of peace, hope and joy and salvation.
These are the days, however, when God is calling all of His children to be ready, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He wants us to be ready that we may know how to give a word of hope to those who are weary and tormented.
In the coming year there will be many hurting people who need help. Be prepared, therefore, to share the love of Jesus with people who are angry and disgusted. Have your spiritual lamps filled with oil.
Be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The harvest is ripening. Do not squander the opportunities. Do not allow despair to reign in people's lives. Bring God's Word and His light into every situation.
Walk in love and know your Bible. The Holy Spirit will give you discernment as to what to say (or not say), as will as how to handle each predicament.
Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church.
(c)David Berkowitz December 3, 2002
It was a sad day. A friend of mine whom I would often sit next to as we ate our meals, got into some trouble. (I'll call him) Mack. Mack likes to do a lot of gambling. A sizable number of the men in here get wrapped up in football and other sports. They start wagering bets. And the stakes get high.
In the course of our time together I shared with Mack about my relationship with Jesus Christ. He is a proud man, and he said that following Jesus was okay for me, but that he didn't need the Lord.
Earlier today a special squad of prison guards came into the cellblock and handcuffed Mack and escorted him to the Special Housing Unit, also know as the "SHU"and "The Box".
I am not certain what his disciplinary charges will be; probably possession of gambling material as well as some other related charges. The word among the inmates, however, is that he is facing at least one year in solitary.
Mack doesn't have any family he's in contact with. The few family members he once knew are long since out of his life. He never gets visits. He seldom gets letters.
Before coming to prison Mack lived on the streets. He is well read and very smart. He has special training to work with the deaf and hearing impaired prisoners.
His family life, unfortunately, was completely dysfunctional. He split from his home in upstate New York during his teenage years, and he never went back. He chose instead to sleep on park benches over a normal bed. He just could not live with the alcoholism of his father, the abuse, and the daily strife.
(c) David Berkowitz December 5, 2002
MACK IN THE "BOX"
I want to talk more about my friend, Mack. It hurt to learn that he got himself into big trouble with some serious charges.
Mack is a physically strong person, but he has a soft heart. He would often loan things to the needier guys never asking for anything back. Raw survival is what he's had to live by for most of his life.
While Mack is in solitary confinement I pray he recalls our conversations. Maybe this will be something of a wake-up call for him. I hope so. He needs the Lord.
Mack is like many prison inmates. Much of his life is a big secret. Very few prisoners reveal much of themselves for fear of being seen as weak, or of being hurt in the long run if they expose their vulnerable areas.
There were a few times many months ago when Mack actually went to a couple of chapel services. He even attended a Christian movie. (I think he went to see "Moses".)
And while I am not trying to paint a sympathetic portrait of a man who, like me, is doing time for murder, there were many factors in his earlier life which put him on this dead end road to prison.
He grew up with to much against him. And while many survived such opposing forces as as alcoholic parent, beatings and physical and emotional abuse, yet still go on to be mature adults and good citizens, not everyone does.
Mack did not. He succumbed to his environment. He wandered homeless, thinking that he was an outcast, that his life was useless. He did a string of odd jobs. He often felt that his life didn't count.
MORE ON MACK
I have been praying for Mack. It will be at least a few weeks before his disciplinary hearing will be completed and he will, if found guilty, be given his punishment.
He will not be taken to an outside court, as he did not break any of New York State's laws. He has, however, been charged with violating various prison rules.
There's a difference between breaking the law and facing charges in a town or state court, and with breaking prison rules and thus having to face disciplinary penalties which must be meted out by the prison's administration.
By breaking various prison rules, Mack can be confined to his cell, or he could lose various privileges for a specified period of time.
In Mack's case, because his charges are considered extra serious, as I mention in my journal entries for yesterday and the day before, he was immediately escorted to "The Box" in handcuffs.
I pray that he makes out okay. He can handle his punishment, I know. But he needs more than cell confinement to straighten him out. Mack needs a new heart and a new life which only Jesus Christ can give.
As I recall the day, many months ago, when Mack blurted out, "Dave, is life worth living?" I could see that he was feeling down and was probably going through a time of introspection.
I felt good when he asked this because to me it meant that he had been giving some thought to his situation, and maybe to what I had been telling him about Christ.
(c) David Berkowitz December 6, 2002
It would take an entire chapter in a book to tell this story. But six years ago, on this day, a kind, loving and brilliant young man left this earth. His name was Andy Tant, and while he was here he impacted my life in a good way.
Andy was filled with the Spirit of God, and with a level of godly wisdom that I have never seen equaled in a boy who was only sixteen when he suddenly stepped into eternity.
Back in 1993 I became friends with this young man. His parents are devout Christians, and Andy was to become the editor of his middle school mewspaper. He heard my testimony and it inspired him.
We exchanged a few letters. We spoke over the telephone. I found it hard to believe that Andy was only in his early teens. He was mature beyond his years.
His level of spiritual insight was exceptional. He was active in ministry, such as reaching out to the homeless in nearby Nashville.
It was Andy whom God used to encourage me to share my story with his classmates. He gave me the the inspiration to begin reaching out to young persons.
Andy shared my story with his school, both with the students and staff. It went over so well that I knew that his generation was indeed receptive to what I had to say.
And on December 8, 1996, on a lonely country road, my little friend died in a car crash. I was stunned and saddened.
But today Andy's voice continues to resound in my ears: "Go reach them, David. Tell them your story of hope. Bring some light to my generation."
With God's help, I will do so.
(C) David Berkowitz December 6, 2002
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
The first video I did with the hope of helping young persons to make good choices is called The Choice Is Yours. It was produced by Gospel Films, now known as Gospel Communications International. Their office is located in Muskegon, Michigan.
This video was born out of grief, pain and loss. It was released in 1997 in dedication to Andy Tant, the young man I spoke about in yesterdays' Journal.
Andy was a beacon of hope and a flaming torch for God. And I believe that he has passed on his torch to me to carry it forward.
As I mentioned in my previous day's journal entry, young Andy died in a head-on collision while he was driving on a Tennessee road on December 8, 1996.
On this December day his work on earth was complete. His parents, whom I am still in touch with, continue to grieve. I can sense their pain when they write their letters. I know they struggle with terrible loss, but their faith in God is strong.
I pray for Andy's parents and I try to encourage them when I wrote. They don't write to me as much as they used to. Their letters are becoming few and far between. But this is okay because I believe they want to move on. Nevertheless, they know how much I love them and how much I miss their son. And I am still carrying his torch.
One day I will see Andy Tant in heaven. He's going to get a big hug from me.
(c) David Berkowitz December 9, 2002
December 13, 2002
IT IS WORTH IT
Here in the Catskill Mountains it is a bitterly cold and snowy day. I have been watching a freezing mist of white drift down from the heavens.
Outside my litle window I can see that everything is covered with ice and snow. I'm thankful to be indoors where it's warm.
I don't see how the apostle Paul survived all those times in a frigid dungeon. It must've been like living inside a refrigerator. Yet the Lord was with him.
I have an easy life when compared to Paul and the many other precious saints who, down through the centuries, have suffered so much for the gospel.
They loved people enough to risk their own lives to spread the good news about Jesus the Messiah. That He came to earth in the form of a man to die for our sins. Then to be raised from the tomb three days later as a triumph over sin and death.
When I consider the suffering other Christians have undergone, even risking their lives to tell the story of God's love, who am I to complain when I, too, must suffer, yet on a much smaller scale? My trials are miniscule when compared to theirs.
(c)David Berkowitz December 13, 2002
December 27, 2002
DIFFICULTIES AND VICTORIES
In retrospect this has been another difficult month. There were lots of trials and much wearyness. However my spirit is strong even though my body is weak and drained. But by God's strength I am pressing on and trusting in the Lord. And there were some wonderful spiritual victories, too.
I am always victorious because it is the Holy Spirit who sustains me. My Defender, the Lord Jesus, fights all my battles. He is my Shield and Buckler, my rock and Refuge, and even my Strong Tower.
Nevertheless, it seems that these days I am going from trial to trial, and tribulation to tribulation with few or no breaks in between.
Yet I am also going from glory to glory. As the apostle Paul has said in the Bible, "for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Coritnthians 4:17)
And only a short while ago I finished a letter to a Native American friend and brother in Christ, who lives on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He also seems to be undergoing struggles. So I tried to encourage him with the encouragement I received form God.
I have been making intercessory prayers for him as well as for those who are living on reservations across the United States and Canada. I prayed that the Holy Spirit will do a deep and special work in their hearts.
May God's Spirit continue to convict of sin and open hearts to receive and believe the everlasting and unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen!
(c)David Berkowitz December 27, 2002
This is not an upbeat or much welcomed message for the new year. However it is what the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart today after a time of prayer.
The world system is beginning to display an increasingly intensifying fury against God. Some people are going wild with rage even seeing a simple "Nativity Scene" outside of a public library or in a park.
Be prepared for a tremendous onslaught of demonic forces to come against the church, especially against the church's leaders, evangelists, and all godly men and women who love Jesus Christ, and who are truly living for Him.
Lying spirits and spirits of anger and confusion are everywhere these days. Many people want to shove God out of their minds. They are opening themselves up to very strong delusions because of their continued rebellion against the things of God.
Many in society take joy in hearing stories about ministers who have taken a "fall" and commited some kind of sin. A number of godly men and women are also being accused of things that are not even true.
The public is being programmed to see evil in God's anointed ministers and their motives. The specter of OPEN persecution is becoming more of a reality.
Today's Christian must be spiritually prepared for such things, and for this kind of spiritual climate. Open persecution has been going on in other nations for many years.
Now even American missionaries are dying on foreign fields for sharing the gospel, and for demonstrating the love of Jesus. DO NOT think that such persecution cannot happen here on the shores of the United States. (2 Timothy 3:12)
(c) David Berkowitz December 28, 2002
A SECRET PLACE
This was yet another busy but joyous Sunday with our morning worship service followed by our afternoon Bible study. Then this evening is a "movie fellowship" and study. But I am staying in my cell to do this journal and to write several letters.
Right now, however, I just want to say "Thank you" to all of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ who have been praying for me, and who have been so faithful to do this throughout the past year and beyond. May the Lord Jesus bless and reward each person who said even the briefest of prayers for my life. I am so grateful!
These days I must admit that I feel weak in my flesh. I need to rest in the Lord and to find that "secret place" where I can get refreshed and renewed in my body and spirit. It is time for a fresh anointing in my life.
This weekend I have been staying up late praying fervently for various countries, from Venezuela to Albania, and Nigeria to Malawi. There are so many empty hearts and empty stomachs in this world. Billions of people need a touch from the Lord. They need to know about a God who loves them.
I have also been making intercessory prayers for the United States and the U.S. Military (especially since we may be at war again in the near future).
I often ask the Lord to watch over our military as they protect our nation. And I pray too for Native Americans who struggle on Indian reservations all across America.
Jesus is the Answer.
(c)David Berkowitz December 29, 2002
CLOSING OUT THE YEAR
As this year nears its close I can say with certainty that my heart is fixed on the Lord. Through His grace I have fought the good fight, and there was much spiritual warfare in 2002.
God has heard my cries and prayers. Again and again, He came on time to deliver me from my enemies, from those who set traps for me and who sought my hurt.
The second half of this year has been exceptionally challenging. Back in July there was a parole hearing. The media focused on this quite a bit. The Lord, however, gave me the wisdom to handle this well. I ended up attending the hearing, not to seek parole, but to witness for the Lord. Still, it was a stressful period.
Then right behind this came the Washington, D.C. area sniper shootings. As this crime spree quickly began to escalate, the news media and a myriad of "criminal profilers" began to spin their conflicting theories, frequently throwing my name into this. Yet they all turned out to be wrong.
Nevertheless, my own criminal past was thown back into the public eye. My face was in the news practically every day. I had to once again go through the anguish of being reminded of my own terrible actions from 25 years ago.
Then came some personal trials and situations with other Christians. I had to be a peacemaker for different parties; it was very taxing and draining. All my strength seemed to vanish. And now, suddenly, another attack from the adversary has now begun. I will discuss this latest assault in tomorrow's journal entry.
(c)David Berkowitz December 30, 2002
I would love to end this year with some encouraging reports about God's exploits. I was hoping to share in my final journal entry for 2002, a glorious victory report from Detroit, Michigan. I will have to save this for next year.
Right now, however, I have to address an urgent matter. I am seeing, as I continue on this Christian journey, that the devil is getting more clever and diabolical in his attacks against my life and my testimony.
This is no surprise. In fact I am learning to rejoice in these fierce trials. That the devil is mad at me is a blessing because it surely is evidence that whatever I am doing is shaking the kingdom of Hell.
Recently I learned that a woman who had reached out to me (back in October) asking for help in dealing with the issue of forgiveness, had apparently made some kind of deal with the National Enquirer, a scandal tabloid.
My letters to her (there were three letters) were filled with words of kindness and encouragement. I tried to share the comfort of Jesus with this woman who, sadly, lost a child through an act of violence.
I do not know what happened, but the National Enquirer printed a lengthy story filled with fabrications and falsehood.
When I read this article it felt as if my guts were being ripped out of me. The Enquirer article was an attack of demonic ferocity unlike anything I had ever experienced previously.
I was alleged to have written letters to this woman that were confessions to unsolved crimes. That I committted my first murder when I was eleven years old, and that I would have the "urge to kill" until the day I died.
The entire article is absurd and full of lies. I am praying about this situtation. But for now, I am simply glad this year is finally over. Halleluiah!
DEALING WITH ENEMIES, EXODUS, RAPTURE
Dealing With Enemies
I know with absolute certainty that the Almighty God has redeemed and forgiven me. He has called me out of spiritual darkness and has brought me to His marvelous light.
The Lord has also anointed me to share with others about His goodness and mercy, and to proclaim God’s Word that no one is beyond the reach of His love and forgiveness. I believe He also wants me to demonstrate, as much as possible, His love for everyone. Yes, even to my enemies and those who, for whatever reasons, hate me.
You see, the fact is, there are people who despise my very life. They continually curse me in their hearts, and are forever looking for ways to hurt me and somehow destroy my Christian testimony.
Several years after I became a Christian, God revealed to me that there will be many people who will try, through their ignorance, prejudice and bias, to fight against me in every way possible. These people have worked very hard and have made many efforts to hinder my attempts at doing good to others and with making my amends to society.
Some of these “enemies” have been media people. A handful have been former police officers and other “law enforcement” personnel. None of these people know me today. None of them really knew me back then.
In addition, some have been total strangers. There were even a few former prisoners who sought to cash in on having done time with me in the past..
And then there are the myriads of satanists and practitioners of various occultic arts who have written hateful things about me. Obviously they see me as a threat to their evil ways.
But my trust and confidence is in the Lord. “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6)
(c) David Berkowitz. April 3, 2001
I am doing well and enduring the storms and trials through the power of the Holy Spirit. If not for the Lord imparting His divine strength to me, I would not survive all the fiery darts the dirty devil hurls at me night and day. But praise God, I have the victory in Christ. He is my Hope, my salvation, and my Rock.
I thank the Lord for His divine comfort and His ever-present help, even in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1-3) And I wish to simply encourage Christians to have fellowship with other believers when you can. No church is perfect, but God has placed others around us that we may encourage and build up one another in the faith.
In these times we’re living in, it is so easy to take our eyes off of Jesus. But we cannot afford to do this, not even for a second. It is easy to get discouraged. Yet it is must as easy to be encouraged.
(c) David Berkowitz April 11, 2000
I had a good time with the Lord this morning reading First Corinthians Chapter 15. Paul put his life in jeopardy every hour for the sake of the gospel. Yet he considered himself to be the “least” of all the other apostles, and not even worthy to be called an apostle, because he, in his past times of ignorance and hatred, persecuted the Church.
Still when he, too, became a believer in Jesus (Yeshua) he tried to make up for his past misdeeds by laboring “more abundantly” and more intensely than all the other apostles combined. I hope to do the same, making the most of each day.
(c) David Berkowitz April 17, 2000
I shared this short message of encouragement in the chapel this past week. I wrote down the highlights of it:
The Lord has been showing me something about our afflictions and our deliverance from them. Remember the Israelites, how they were enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years? Well you know, just before their deliverance came their afflictions got worse.
Pharoah (who was a type of Satan) was obviously afraid that one day a deliverer would come for the Jews. He also felt intimidated by the large number of Hebrews who were in the land. And then the time came when Moses (a type of Christ) stepped before the Egyptian leader to demand the release from captivity of God’s people.
But rather than showing mercy and easing up on their afflictions and bondages, Pharaoh got upset and increased the sufferings of the Jews. This is today’s portrait, in a sense, of the devil.
Because Jesus Christ is soon to come, (and I believe the devil knows this) in his anger he is actually increasing his attacks upon God’s children.
The devil is angry because soon God’s people are going to be snatched off of this sin-scorched earth and we will be ushered into heaven.
In heaven we will be out of satan’s reach forever, just like the Jews, once they crossed the Red Sea, were out of Pharoah’s reach.
There is a parallel here. And so I believe that one of the reasons we, as a church and as individual believers, are going through so many trials and struggles in virtually every area of our lives, is because Satan knows that our Deliverer (Jesus) will soon come to take us away.
The devil is just trying to get in his last licks. Pharoah did the exact same thing to the Jews. But just as Pharoah was fully outsmarted and conquered when the day of deliverance came for the Hebrew slaves, so too, satan will be full conquered when Christ comes for us.
For when Jesus comes for His church, at this moment, all suffering, pain, struggle and hardship will come to an immediate end.
Praise the Lord! This should encourage us. Satan knows he has but a short time, and so do we!
(c)David Berkowitz April 18, 2000
The Lord showed me today (Luke 17:22-37) that until the time of the Rapture, it will be for most of the people of this world “business as usual.” Jesus will come suddenly for His Church, like maybe right now.
During Noah’s day and in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, people were living good. It was a time of false peace and temporal prosperity. They had great plans and ambitions. There was no hint of what was to come. There were probably many “signs,” of course. And God always had His faithful witnesses proclaiming the coming judgment. But people were blind to the signs and deaf to the messengers.
Like it is nowadays, people seemed to live for money and pleasure. And like today, the spiritually blind of this world will one day find themselves right in the time Jesus Christ warned about, the “Tribulation.”
(c)David Berkowitz May 25, 2000
Today I was reading Micah 7:18-20 which is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I know for a fact that I serve a God who loves to pardon and delights to show mercy. While He does not excuse or tolerate sin, He does give us space to repent and turn from our sins and come to Him for forgiveness and mercy.
Man will seldom forgive or pardon, especially if one has committed a crime. But thankfully God does not think or act in the same manner as prideful mankind. His ways are not our ways, nor are God’s thoughts like our thoughts.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9).
What a relief to know this truth!
(c) David Berkowitz May 30, 2000
, THE EVERLASTING ARMS
The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms.
I have been weak and weary, not only from the oppressive heat and humidity, but, moreover, from the intense spiritual warfare which has been taxing my mind, body and spirit.
Yet God has been faithful to carry me through. For even in my tiredness and exhaustion the grace of God shows itself to be sufficient.
Like the popular poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” just when I think I am all alone and I could no longer press onward, I instead discover that the “everlasting arms” of Christ are holding me up.
But aside from this, I believe the Lord has been revealing to me that it is time to speak as well as go even deeper into enemy territory.
Frankly I cannot say that I am ready for any new challenges and assignments. My fatigue has been keeping me in my comfort zones and glad to be standing on familiar ground. Yet this is not the Lord’s way.
Jesus has been preparing me, I am certain, for more service. Still I confess that in spite of the divine call, I never feel quite ready nor capable.
Nevertheless, like any Christian, I must step out in faith. I must hope the right decision was made, and then give it all to the Lord.
As one verse from the book of Proverbs says, “Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 NASB).
David Berkowitz July 1, 2005
A STRANGE LETTER FROM MIKE
Several days ago I received a letter from a young man by
the name of Mike.* He was boasting to me about his big
collection of serial killer cards and his fascination with such
Jake said that he reads a lot of books and loves to watch
movies about serial killers, that he has amassed many facts
about them from the internet.
My heart was heavy as I read his letter. He's obviously
deluded by the media’s portrayals of those who commit these
kinds of crimes.
I seldom get letters like Jake's. But on occasion people
like him do write to ask questions or to express their
fascination with this subject.
Usually I never reply. With his man, though, I did.
I tried to explain to Jake that hurting another person is
a horrible thing. It's not exciting or fun. Rather it is sick
It's a nightmare with lots of grief and pain, I said to
him, not only for the families of the victims, but for the ones
doing the harm.
Jake needed to know, too, that I have a tremendous amount
of sorrow for what I did at a time when my own life was out of
control. That I had no right to take peoples' lives, and how I
would do anything if I could undo it.
To me this man appears to be living in a Hollywood-type
fantasy world in which killing someone is portrayed as being of
no big deal, and that’s cool. I believe that when someone
watches certain crime shows on television or in the movies, it
is easy to get a false impression. I tried to bust through
Jake’s immature and absurd ideas by telling him that inmates
basically lead broken and defeated lives. We struggle to
survive, and we must endure the day-to-day monotony of prison
I explained to Jake that being locked up is hard. That I
myself have nearly twenty-eight years of confinement, and I have
to live in a cage like an animal.
He needed to be told to look beyond his fascination with
mass murderers and face reality.
I was firm with Jake, but I was kind. I hope I was able
to help him to see that his present views are foolish.
David wrote this sermon in his prison cell, and it was read aloud by a preacher in a New York Church. Truly the Lord can use a man to spread the Gospel far and wide, even when that man is confined to a prison. The Holy Spirit and the Name of Jesus are not confined, and can penetrate every prison wall with Jesus' divine Love!!
JESUS AT THE DOOR
Friend, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ refers to Himself as the "Bright and Morning Star." Yes, these terms fit Him. For Jesus can brighten up your life and give you a new beginning and a fresh start. For just as there is a new day with every sunrise, there's a new beginning for every person who comes to the Son, and His Name is Jesus.
Becoming a Christian, however, doesn't mean that your problems will go away. They won't. In fact, sometimes after you become a Chrisian, some situations may actually get worse. You see, your faith is going to be tested. Satan is going to launch very fierce attacks against you and your loved ones because you have decided to turn your back on the devil.
You're making the decision to turn away from your sins, and turn to Jesus Christ.
But the best part is that, once you desire to turn from your sins and place your faith in Jesus, He will immediately come to dwell in your heart. And the Holy Spirit (God's Spirit) will Now make Himself available to you to strengthen you and guide your life. You will begin to have a personal relationship with God as your Heavenly Father.
Now tell me, how many people have walked out of your life?
Have you been abandoned by others? Have people turned their backs on you? Well Jesus Christ will never abandon you. He will never leave you to struggle by yourself.
Instead, Jesus will forgive your sins and wash them away with His blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary. He will live in you and be with you each and every day to give you peace, even in the midst of your storms.
Yes, the Lord Jesus will be with you through sickness, family problems, unpaid bills, hunger, homelessness, and all kinds of struggles. For these things will no longer be your problems.
They will become God's problems. Why? Because God has promised to take care of you.
So come to Jesus. Tell Him that you're sorry for your sins.
That you no longer wish to remain in bondage to sin or live in sin, always having it rule over your life. Instead you want to be freed from sin's power and its everlasting penalty, which is eternity in the Lake of Fire.
Friend, I am certain it is no accident that you're reading this message right now. For God is giving you the chance to make things right with Him. So don't be ashamed to call upon Him.
The Lord will not reject you. He did not reject me when I came to Him. I was once a killer and a demon possessed madman. At one time I lived in total bondage to Satan. I was his slave.
He owned my mind, body, and soul.
In my ignorance and rebellion against God I chose to be a criminal. I deeply regret this. I am sorry for my crimes, and for all the evil things I did in the past. I would give my own
life if I could take all those bad deeds back and restore the lives I ended by using a gun.
By God's grace, I repented of my sins and turned from them. In my despair and desperation I cried out to Jesus. I prayed to Him while on my knees in a cold prison cell. And He heard me!
God listened to my words. He did not reject me. I was not turned away.
Jesus Christ did not say to me, "David, you're a terrible criminal and murderer. You are beyond hope. You're scum. You're a worthless person, and I hate you. Go away from my presence, forever!"
No! Instead Jesus came to me. He told me that He loves me. He touched my life. I was like the man in the Bible who was infected with deadly, highly contageous leprosy.
No one would go near him. But Jesus put His Arms around this broken man. The Lord was not afraid or ashamed to touch him. And He did the same for me.
Jesus said to my spirit, "David, I have forgiven you. My Blood is fully capable of washing away every evil act you've ever done. Your sins are before my face no more. I have cast them away as for as the east is from the west, never to hold them against you anymore. You're My child now."
Friend, I believe this with all my heart. It took awhile to accept the fact that God truly loved and forgave me. But now, as my faith and knowledge of the Lord and His word has grown, Iknow this to be absolutely true.
The Lord Jesus said in His own words: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).
So, today, I assure you, that there's hope for you, too. There is forgiveness. There is mercy.
Even now Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. He is calling out your name in the most gentle and tender voice you could ever imagine.
Do you hear Jesus quietly calling to you now?
"Frank, open the door of your heart. Let me in. I want to be your Saviour.
"Jose, Tony, Tyrone, John, I love you and I'm outside knocking.
How much longer will you remain entangled in lust and other sins? Here is your chance to get free.
"William, I can help you to become the husband and father you have always tried but failed to be. Please lay aside your pride and self-sufficiency and allow Me to become the Lord of your life."
"Barbara, Janet, Joanne, Tanya, Paula, Lucy----Here I am. I am your Bright and Morning Star. I have been outside of your lives all these years knocking, calling out your names, waiting, trying to get your attention. I am your True Lover. I am the source of True Joy. I can quiet your minds and give each of you the peace you long for. So please open the door and let Me in.
"Maria, I can free you from drug addiction. Tasha, I will help care for your children. You don't have to raise them alone and in your own strength. Call upon Me. Trust in Me".
"I Am the God who loves and forgives drug addicts, criminals and failures. I can lift the heavy chains of guilt and break them.
"I free slaves. I redeem those who are enslaved by sin, but who confess those sins to Me. For I am the One who loves you, and I want to have a deep and personal relationship with you that will last forever.
"If you believe with your heart that I, Jesus, am Lord, and that God the Father has raised me from the dead, and if you are not ashamed to confess this with your mouth, you shall be saved.* You will experience my forgiveness. You may not fully understand all that is happening at this moment, but I will set
you on a new course. And you will be ready in these uncertain times to meet with God.
"Beloved one, I will be your Savior, forever. And you will be mine, forever.
"Even now, as you go along in life, I will always be a refuge for you. As Psalm 46:1 says, I will be your source of
strength, and a very present help in your times of trouble.
"Receive Me now."
"But as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name. John 1:12).
May God touch and bless everyone who reads this message
I heard that call again, I did, Deep within my soul, amid
Cries of loons, And woodcock tunes.
Moors and swamps, Dressed in cattail browns,
Foxtail ornaments, With foxfire crowns.
Dark at night the only sound, A hissing of nature sprites
In the ground.
And hidden dandelion kings Whisper at being clothed
Yellow, red, brown.
A humming bird with a sing-song tune
Croons, croons, croons
While shrouds of evergreen jeweled shrubs
Dance under a cloudless moon.
© David Berkowitz October 11, 1989
All the writings on this page are authored by David Berkowitz and are the sole property of David Berkowitz