For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
2 Corinthians 4:5
I am exceedingly uncomfortable anytime anyone heaps praise
upon me, no matter how well intentioned they may be. It makes me want to run, to flee away from such an act.
If there happens to be good things going on in my life, it
is only the result of God's mercy. If there are good and beautiful things that I am doing, it is only the Lord working through
me to do of His good pleasure. It is the work of God, and not of me.
My joy is to be on an open and willing vessel for God to fill
with His Spirit and to be used by Him for His glory, and for His divine purposes.
Apart from Messiah Jesus I am nothing. Without God's grace
being activated in my life, I would be a spiritually dead thing. I would be a waste, worth nothing.
The human heart is so deceitful. The praise and applause of
men is what works to destroy a Christian. I can never allow men to praise me in any fashion.
August 2, 2003
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 4:17
I am continuing to learn the deep spiritual value of troubles,
trials and afflictions. For these things, when they come into my life at various times, only cause me to run straight into
the arms of Jesus.
When hardship hits, I find myself running right to God's throne
of grace to help in my times of need. And, by the way, the Bible says to do this (Hebrews 4:14-16).
There was a time when, in the early years of my Christian journey,
I tried my best to avoid troubles and afflictions. I did not want hardship or difficult circumstances to come my way. I was
in "pain avoidance", and I think it was perfectly normal to feel like this.
But as I began to mature in my faith, I came to realize that
God accomplishes good things in my life when I allow my troubles and problems, and even the times of persecution or disappointment,
to mold and shape me.
For in the furnace of affliction comes purification and patience.
My former ways of relying on myself and in my own abilities to handle things gets removed from my life. And even in the midst
of this develops the spiritual fruit of patience, as I must simply wait upon God to solve a certain problem or move in my
behalf during a particular situation.
All said, while I still do not like my painful testings, I
know that when I trust in God, not doubting, He works all these things for my good.
August 3, 2003
At approximately 12:45 this afternoon, shortly after the lunch
meal was completed, an inmate tried to kill himself by jumping over the railing from the top tier of the E-North cell block.
The tier this man jumped from is about the equivalent of leaping
from a third floor window. He landed in a heap, flood pouring from his mouth, his bones badly bruised, if not broken.
A team of correction officers placed him on a stretcher and
rushed him to the infirmary. An ambulance was summoned from a nearby town, and he was then rushed to an outside hospital
Later today I heard rumors that several of the officers who
loaded him into the ambulance said that his heart had stopped beating two times. I began to pray for this man the moment I
heard the news of his suicide attempt. And in this prison environment, news, whether accurate or not, always spreads quickly.
I know the man who tried to kill himself. He may already be
dead, however. Nevertheless, I am awaiting word, and I don't think that an accurate report on his condition will come for
another day or two.
For now, all I can do is pray and trust in the Lord for the
best outcome, that he will survive and be okay.
I know he had been depressed, especially at not hearing from
his family. Recently he had been lamenting to me that his family had abandoned him.
I know he was hurting and I'm sure he felt lonely. He has also
been struggling with mental illness, and this is why he was housed in the E-North cell block in the first place
August 4, 2003
This morning I reported to my work assignment at the E-North's
"Intermediate Care Program" cell block. My heart has been heavy ovcr yesterday's news. So I went to work not knowing what
frame of mind that the men who witnessed this suicide attempt would be in.
I wasn't there yesterday afternoon to hear the sickening thud
of soft flesh slamming into concrete, but these men were. And they saw the pool of blood.
Thus I went into the cell block hoping to encourage the men
and give some words of comfort.
I felt the tension as soon as I walked through the steel doors
which separate the cell block from the main corridor. A spirit of depression was in the air.
I also sensed the despair, as there have been several suicide
attempts in this part of the prison in recent months. I wrote about two recent attempts in my journal entries for June 16-19.
I know that doing "time" can often bring out the worst in people.
There is the despair and pain which remain hidden in hearts, only to be revealed by the daily pressures of prison life.
The crushing loneliness and the lack of letters from family,
or the loss of loved ones who either die off or decide to move on with their lives, takes a toll.
In addition, the feelings of guilt and failure can also become
August 5, 2003
The good news has arrived. I have received word from several
different prison guards as well as a few of the civilian staff, that the man who tried to take his life by jumping some 30
to 35 feet onto the pavement, will be okay. This is nothing short of a miracle!
He has some broken bones, a dislocated shoulder, a possible
skull fracture, and possibly a broken or fractured jaw (depending on which report is most accurate). but the main thing is
that he's alive!
After his trip to the emergency room of a local hospital, this
prisoner was taken back to this facility. He has been placed on around-the-clock observation in an isolation room in the prison's
I was told that he was very banged up, but he is alert and
conscious. He's also in a lot of pain.
Several people told me that he is talking, and that he said
he was thankful he didn't die. I know that God was watching over him.
Now, however, it remains to be seen what prison officials will
do with this man (whose name I never mentioned in this journal to protect his privacy).
Although it will be at least several months, I think, before
he's completely healed. I do not believe he will be allowed back into the cell block. For there would be nothing to stop him
should the urge to self-destruct come upon him once more.
Everyone in our church congregation will continue to keep this
man in our prayers.
August 6, 2003
Earlier today I got the opportunity to share my story of hope
and forgivenss with Dr. Bill Maier, a host with the Focus on the Family radio network.
This interview was not easy. It was difficult for me to open
up because I was in a room with watchful prison guards sitting nearby. There was also a lot of noise from the inmates and
staff who were walking the corridors right outside our interview room.
In any case, one of the first questions Dr. Meier asked me
was in what areas do I struggle. But for whatever reasons, I found myself unable to answer this question and share about these
things. My mind went blank and I couldn't think of anything.
Nevertheless, this evening the answers to the questions finally
came. It's a little late now as the interview ended about five hours ago! Yet I do have areas of struggle, and I would
like to share some of them now!
1) I struggle with the fact that, as of yet, no one in my family
believes that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah. Nor do they seem to be interested in the Lord.
2) The news media often brings back my past and won't let go
of it. I know that God turns situations like this around for a good purpose. But it still hurts when my horrendous criminal
past, which I regret so much, gets thrown before the world again and again.
3) There are many Christians who reject my testimony and do
not believe that I am sincere.
August 7, 2003
I want to continue where I left off yesterday to finish answering
the question that had been posed to me by Dr. Maier from Focus on the Family
4) It is a struggle within my heart knowing that the families
of those whose lives I took, as well as those whom I injured, have still not forgiven me even after twenty-six years. I continue
to pray for them, however.
5) It is difficult, at times, having to sit on the sidelines
with my ministry, while I know that I have so much to share with young people to help and encourage them during their stressful
6) I grieve in my heart when I see the outward success of those
who hate God, and when it seems as if evil is increasing in the world.
7)In addition, I struggle with my own weaknesses and temptations
just like that of any other Christian man.
Yet I know and believe that with every struggle or difficult
situation, the victory and triumpth is ultimately in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)
I know and believe that through Christ I am "more than a conqueror."
Nothing can separate me from His love. and I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength (Philippians 4:13).
August 8, 2003
A GOOD REPORT
Several days ago I received a lovely letter from a couple,
Jesse and Marcia, who live in the mortheast. We have been corresponding for several years even though we only write each other
about once every six months.
My friends shared a good report with me about how God is working
in their lives. I was also encouraged to learn that my story of hope, redemption and forgiveness is being used to help other
people find their way out of darkness, and
safely into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
"I just wrote a letter to a 26 year old woman who is doing
life in a women's correctional facillity for killing her baby on Christmas Eve. She immediately called police and told them
what she did, saying she had no control, like a 'demon' was controlling her . I sent her your testimony. You know, your testimony
is so inportant, David. It is going to reach so many people who feel so rejected and like no one could possibly understand
"This may sound funny, but just like garbage can be used to
make compost for fertilizer, the garbage of our past, surrendered into God's hands, though He washes us clean, can be used
to bring forth fruit in other people's lives."
August 12, 2003
A DEVOUT JEW
This morning I had a very spiritually productive time of dialog
and for sharing my faith. I spent about forty minutes talking with Eleazar, a very religious orthodox Jewish man who's in
Eleazar asked me many questions about my belief in Jesus. He
showed no hostility at all, but only an honest curiosity instead.
I explained to him that, even though I believe in Jesus as
the Messiah, I still consider myself to be Jewish. I told him that I have not changed my religion at all.
I told Eleazar that Jesus was Jewish and that most of his early
followers were Jews. Almost all the writers of the New Testament were Jews, too.
We talked about our backgrounds. He told me that he is from
Columbia, a nation in South America. He and I are both the only children of our parents, although I have a half sister who
I did not grow up with but I did meet when I was in my early 20s.
After his parents died Eleazar decided to come to the United
States and start a new life. There were also no family members left with whom he was close, he said.
But having left a small Jewish community in the capital city
of Bogota, he ended up getting into trouble with the law when he teamed up with some other Columbians who were selling drugs.
Eleazar has now been in prison for eight years. He recently
attended a parole hearing, and he was granted parole provided that he accept deportation back to Columbia.
He knows, however, that because he no longer has any close
relative in his home country, and because he is being deported, the authorities will be waiting for him.
August 13, 2003
A DEVOUT JEW
Eleazar opted to accept deportation, as it is basically his
only chance to get released.
I believe, too, that had the parole board not had the option
to kick Eleazar out of the country by granting him parole and thus paving the way for the Department of Imigration and Naturalization
(INS) to get custody of him, Eleazar would have received the standard "two year hit" that almost all New York state prison
inmates get at their first parole board appearance.
Eleazar, however, has something else that may be good for him.
He has made friends with some influential rabbis within the large Jewish community that's in Sullivan County. And one of these
rabbis, who comes to visit him about once per month, has begun the process of trying to get Eleazar deported to Israel, instead.
Eleazar and I were talking about this at length. I concurred
with him that this would be a good thing. As a Jew, he can, with some outside help, make his pilgrimage to Israel and eventually
become an Israeli citizen.
He was excited about this, and I told him that I will pray
that this happens. For if Eleazar was made to return to Columbia, it could be disastrous. Since he has no family there and
no job awaiting him in his country, and because the INS is sending him back for committing crimes while in the United States,
in all frankness, the Columbian police could cause Eleazar to "disappear".
There is no longer any place for him in Columbian society.
But if Eleazar goes to Israel he can start a new life and get back on his feet again. for him this would be a blessing from
August 23, 2003
Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions.
Several days ago I received a letter from a major media corporation
informing me that they are producing a program about the "Son of Sam shootings". They asked me to participate in this and
allow myself to be interviewed by them.
The news came like a kick to my stomach. Since getting this
letter I have felt spiritually oppressed as well as physically sick.
I was so saddened to learn about this project. I have been
praying and crying out to God for help.
But the Lord gave me the words to say in reply. So I wrote
a fairly short and courteous letter to this media outlet explaining that I am very sorry for the past. I continue to pray
for those I hurt, and that with God's help I have been moving on with my life.
I told them that I have a little memory of these crimes.
That I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in being a part of their program. Nor do I wish to participate in any way.
Frankly, I was disgusted by their letter. It was not a nasty
letter, but it was manipulative. People know how to talk real nice when they want something from me.
I think it is a tragedy that my crimes keep getting thrown
back into the public's eye for the sake of viewer ratings and advertising revenues.
I feel sorry for the families of my victims who will be forced
to relive their nightmare once more.
August 24, 2003
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all
ye that hope in the Lord.
This has been a wonderful day! God has taken away my pain.
He has heard the cries of my heart. The Lord has answered my prayers.
For the past several days my spirit has been very heavy because
of certain situations that have come upon me suddenly, and which are beyond my control.
I shared about one of these situations in yesterday's journal
entry. Today, however, the Lord stepped in. He has refreshed my soul in a very intimate way.
There was so much joy in our congregation as men simply began
to worship and praise the Lord.
I was at my usual spot by the entrance where I stand to greet
everyone who comes in. Almost every seat was taken. God was touching hearts.
Then, during the afternoon, we had our new believers Bible
class from 1 to 3 p.m.. The teacher was giving a message about trusting in God and never doubting Him.
Even in our little classroom the Holy Spirit's presence seemed
to be so powerful, yet gentle. Finally, earlier this evening I spent an hour with another Jewish man who believes in Jesus
like I do. We sat at a table together in the recreation area, and we read Scriptures and encouraged each other.
This was a blessed day, and a day to be filled with God.
August 26, 2003
UPDATE ON JEFFREY
I wrote extensively about Jeffrey (pseudonym), in my journal
entries for April 21 thru 25.
Jeff has spent many years in bondage to alcohol. He has been
in and out of prison for much of his adult life. And when he drinks he often gets violent.
This is what got him his last prison sentence. He repeatedly
cut and stabbed a man with knife during a drunken brawl. He has also been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
I was able to share my faith in Christ with Jeffrey, especially
in the days just before his release from prison in April.
I had encouraged him to go to a Christian mission he had mentioned
having visited in the past. And I have been praying for him, too.
Then, today, I got a surprise. Another inmate with whom he
was friendly, told me that he just got a letter from Jeff. I couldn't believe it.
Amazingly, Jeffrey is doing well. He did try to live in a local
park for awhile. Yet somehow he manged to work things out with his parole officer. He got Jeff into a boarding home, and this
is where he's now living.
In his letter, Jeffrey say that in this Christian boarding
house, all fifteen residents are required to attend daily prayer meetings and listen to whatever Scriptures are being read.
God is watching over Jeffrey. I honestly thought his chances
of making it on the outside were slim. He told me before he left that he was planning to get some alcohol as soon as he got
out. Yet somehow the Lord seems to have gotten hold of him.
Thus far he is doing good.
August 28, 2003
CLOSER TO THE LORD
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and,
as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.
A special and sacred time is once again approaching. The High
Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are almost here. Of course, as a believer that Jesus is the Messiah, every day is
special to me. (Psalm 118:24). Nevertheless there are unique times and seasons, and these two holidays are a few of them.
Looking over my life, I am not satisfied with the way I am
walking with the Lord. I have been feeling to weary, and I have allowed many difficulties to disturb my spirit and hinder
my walk with God. This is not good, and I need to correct this.
I have, for example, allowed that disappointing letter which
I discussed in my journal entry for August 23, to dishearten and discourage me. I lapsed into a week of depression. I felt
restless and greatly troubled.
May the Lord help me to walk by faith and not by what I see
around me or whatever circumstances come my way. I know that God is faithful. So I should never be dismayed or afraid. Yet
sometimes these very things take hold of me.
I need to get closer to and more intimate with Jesus. So beginning
today I am setting aside more time to learn of Him. I want to sit at His feet and stay in His presence.
I am not sad. But I do need a season for reflecting in God's
salvation. I rejoice that I have been redeemed by Messiah's precious Blood.