Son of Hope

VOLUME b May 2006 1-800-BADADVICE

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from Hell to Heaven
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January 2001 Reaching Out to Victims, Forgiving Myself
February 2001 Typewriters, Mayor Beam, Innis Cosby
March 2001EArthquakes, Jim is Dead, Black and Satanic Metal, Zero Tolerance
VOLUME a JUNE 2001 My Birthday, Another Miracle
VOLUME b JUNE 2001 Setting Things in Order, I Will Bless the Lord
VOLUME c JUNE 2001 I'm Only An Example, God's Mercy
VOLUME a OCTOBER 2002 Lockdown, Sniper Shootings
VOLUME b OCTOBER 2002 Caught Sleeping, Larry King, Suffering
VOLUME NOVEMBER 2002a Three For Jesus, Getting Out
VOLUME b NOVEMBER 2002 Jailhouse Missionaries, Wendell Judd
VOLUME c NOVEMBER 2002 Weakness, Thanksgiving
VOLUME (a) DECEMBER 2002 Son of Suffering, Mack
VOLUME (b) DECEMBER 2002 Andy Tant, The Choice is Yours
david wins lawsuit
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pataki letter on parole
David' Full Tract Testimony
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judge alexander testimony
The Invisible Kid
Jesus at the Door
Red Lake Massacre
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Torment to Salvation
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enduring physical woes
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the wasted death of frank di marco
prison violence
a walk in the yard
victory report from brooklyn tabernacle
Jesus gets the credit
chuck's son
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richard's divorce
April 2004
April 2004 b
dear friend sister jean
"Danny's Transfer"
response from focus on the family
the power of praise
light afflictions
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The Lord Uses Women
the other side of the wall
joseph's great example
a plea to young people
changing of seasons
VOLUME AUGUST 2005 a Family Day
volume a May 2006 He's Always With Me
VOLUME b May 2006 1-800-BADADVICE
VOLUME c MAY 2006 Open Doors, God's Will
VOLUME JUNE 2006 (a) Birthday Move, Painting a New Cell
VOLUME JUNE 2006 (b) Prison Retreat, Larry's Coat
VOLUME JUNE 2006 (c) God's Presence, True Love
VOLUME JUNE 2006 (d)Betrayal, Surprise Good News
A Statement of Facts

1-800-BAD ADVICE, Scowl Face, On the  Rise 

May 20, 2006



      The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue.*  With our mouth we could encourage or discourage someone.    We could build up a life, or destroy it.  A cruel word, for example, could send a person into the throes of a deep depression from which they may not recover.


     This was impressed upon me yesterday when I received a letter from friends in Canada.   They’re a married couple who are devout Christians.  They support various ministries, especially those that help the persecuted churches in Third World countries, and they love Jesus.  Yet they have also been afflicted by various medical problems.  Most recently the husband, Larry, has been diagnosed with cancer.


     And when the wife, Gina, called a prayer line to ask for help and advice, the “counselor” at the other end told her that God was “chastening” them with ‘many diseases.”  Gina then asked me what I thought of this.


     I was livid.  After I read Gina’s letter I had to stand up; and pace back and forth for several minutes to ease my mind.  I don’t believe I have ever heard of anything so stupid and insensitive, and coming from a Christian counselor no less!


     I wonder what this counselor would have told the apostle Paul if he had called to ask for prayer for his “thorn in the flesh”?  What would she have said to Job had he dialed the prayer line to seek comfort over the sudden deaths of all his children, and to ask for prayer because of the boils which covered his body from head to foot? 


     Likewise it would be interesting to know what words this counselor would have given to Epaphroditus, who was a faithful minister and one of Paul’s trusted companions.  The Bible says that he had become extremely sick and was very close to death “because of the work of Christ”.  (Philippians 2:25-30)


     It was the Lord Jesus Himself who said that while we are in this world we shall experience trouble.  (John 16;33)  And the apostle Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  (Romans 8:18).


     I cannot find it anywhere in the Bible where it says that Christians will never experience loss, pain, sickness or hardship.  In fact we go through what everyone else does.  But the difference is that we have a divine source to call upon and trust in for help comfort and strength.   Our God is all-powerful.  He can fix a problem or change a situation merely by speaking a word.


     Now I’m sure this counselor meant well.  Yet the advice she gave was so foolish that, had my friends not known the Scriptures for themselves, their faith could have been damaged.


     Unfortunately, however, many individuals do get hurt.   Poison counsel is given and they become discouraged.  They fall under condemnation and false guilt.  Then many of these victims stop going to church altogether.  They depart from the faith and are ruined


     Obviously, therefore, not everyone should be giving spiritual counsel.


     I shared my thoughts with Gina and Larry because they asked me to.  I also advised them to report the matter to whoever is in charge of this prayer line.  The leadership of this ministry needs to be more selective and discerning with whom they allow to answer the phone.


     At the same time, however, what happened to my friends has caused me to search and examine my own heart.  I also counsel others.  So I want my words to be good, wholesome, and only what the Lord would want me to say.


     I must always be careful not to be proud, rash or reckless with what I say.  This is a big responsibility because, after all, the Bible says that  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  (Proverbs 18:21).


     My prayer is that I have a wise tongue.  I also ask God’s forgiveness if I have ever given incorrect and hurtful advice.


(Larry and Gina are not their real names)


*Proverbs 18:21


David Berkowitz


May 24, 2006



About fifteen minutes ago a small squad of correction officers entered the cell block wearing their protective gloves and carrying nightsticks.  They came to take a prisoner to “The Box”.


     I don’t know what he did or had been accused of, but the prisoner is a young black man, maybe in his early 30s.  He was living in my cell block for about a year, and although he never talked much, he was clearly the angry-brooding type.


     No matter where he went in the facility I would observe Scowl Face walking stiffly.  His muscles remained tensed in such a way that he reminded me of a lion getting ready to pounce upon its prey.  He gave off  bad “vibes”, too.  So he was oftentimes seen sitting alone in the dayroom.  His unfriendly face and his body language bespoke a clear message:  “Stay the heck away from me!”


     I do not recall ever seeing him smile.  On occasion I saw him arguing with a fellow prisoner or with a staff member.  Men with seething rage are a common sight in here, and Scowl Face was and obvious case of consuming fury.


     I had watched as the team of guards who, along with a sergeant who stood by in his standard supervisory role, handcuffed Scowl Face behind his back.  Then with the cuffs locked in place they marched him out of the building.  He gave them no resistance and he did not say a word.  The entire operation took about five to seven minutes, and Scowl Face was gone.


     Taking a prisoner to “The Box” is a routine event.  After a man is handcuffed, and assuming he offers no resistance, he is then escorted by several guards along with a sergeant through  the facility’s corridors to an area far from the regular cell blocks.  It’s benignly called the “Special Housing Unit”, which the staff usually refers to by its abbreviated name, “SHU”.


     SHU is basically a prison within a prison, and it is reserved for those who commit the most serious of disciplinary infractions.  A greater majority of the men, however, when they break a rule end up confined to their own cells for twenty-three hours per day.  They will also lose all their privileges such as the opportunity to use the telephone, go to the commissary or the main recreation yards, or take a daily shower.


     The one positive thing that I remember about this man was when I was sitting in the dayroom having an impromptu Bible study with a few of the guys, when I noticed him looking at us and listening intently to our discussion.   But when I smiled at him and politely asked if he’d like to join us, he immediately grimaced and said, “Naw”.  Yet he continued to watch and listen.


     Mostly, though during the few times I said hello to him in passing, he would merely mumble something under his breath and continue walking, never making eye contact.


     Now, unfortunately, Scowl Face is going to have plenty of time to stew in his anger.  He’s really a lonely man who needs God in his life.


David Berkowitz


May 25, 2006



The population of men and women in America’s jails and prisons continues to be on the rise in most states.


     A recent article in USA Today said, “Nearly 2.2 million people---1 in every 136 U.S. residents---were behind bars in 2005.”


     This was a quote from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.


     According to the story, some states such as Montana and South Dakota had increases in their populations, but the states of Vermont, Idaho and New York, the number of inmates in mails and prisons was down slightly.


     The article went on to say that “Women now account for 12.7% of the jail population, up from 10.2% a decade ago.”


     For quite some time I have been saying that our nation’s correctional facilities are one of the biggest mission fields.  After all, the Lord Jesus came into this world to save sinners.  And where else can such a large concentration of broken, devastated, troubled and wayward lives be found that in these places?


     The harvest is truly ripe!


     Source:  USA Today, Monday, May 22, 2006  (Page 3A)  by Donna Leinwand


David Berkowitz




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