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Jan. 2001 Renouncing Satan, Forgiving Myself

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Renouncing Satan, Forgiving Myself, Reaching out To My Victims

January 1, 2001





     As I begin this New Year, I pray that, with God’s help, I can continue to touch lives with His love, grace and compassion.  I pray with all my heart that someone will be encouraged by what I have to say either by video, radio programs, or by my written testimonies and other writings and letters.


     It is my calling, just like that of any other Christian, to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ forgives sins, and that he heals brokenhearted souls.  He sets captives free.  And He still reaches out to the outcasts and to those who think they have no hope.


      I pray that God will continue to use me and that the enemy of my soul, Satan, who is always seeking to destroy me and to somehow discredit my testimony will be bound by the power of God.


     And I pray and thank God for all my Christian brothers and sisters who have, over the years, given so much of their time and effort to help me through letters of encouragement and by their prayers.


     I am so grateful and I am continually amazed at God’s mercy towards me.  Looking back over the year 2000, so much has been accomplished to further the gospel.  And the best part is, I believe, that God isn’t finished with me yet.  Halleluiah!


 David Berkowitz


January 3, 2001


To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

                                     Ecclesiastes 3:1




One thing I hope to see accomplished, and something I have been fervently praying for, is the healing of those whom I have hurt in the past,   the victims of my crimes.   They are the survivors of this horrible tragedy.

     God knows that I would do everything within my power to go back and change things, to have prevented what happened.   I cannot do this.  No one can go back and undo their mistakes.


     Yes, I have much regret, grief, shame and sorrow, over my past actions.   Jesus Christ knows that I am fully confident in His Word 

that He has forgiveven me totally and completely. 

And I no longer have to be eaten away by these feelings.

     The Lord has given me His peace. His peace is not something that I deserve.  I do not deserve it and I never will.  But the Bible assures me that God's peace is available to all who put their trust in Him. and this includes me.

     Furthermore, Christ has shown me over time

how to take the painful feelings of regret, grief,

shame, and sorrow, and turn them into positive things.   In every TV or radio interview I was able to give since the INSIDE EDITION program of 1993, I have always expressed my remorse

and sorrow for what I have done.  And thank God for the opportunity to do this.


     In every possible way, I have publicly expressed my shame, sorrow, and regret.  I have

said that I am sorry again and again.  And this year, I hope to be able to reach out to some of my victims, as the Lord makes a way.  I want to express to each family  (privately) my apologies, and to ask for their forgiveness.


     A minister from a large church in Brooklyn, New York, has offered his help in reaching out to these crime victims.   This is a sensitive and delicate thing, which not only requires much prayer, but also much wisdom.  I am waiting for the right time.


     There were times when I wanted to do this several years ago.  But then came the hindrances.

Such as the "Summer of Sam" movie, and the related media publicity, which went to humongous levels.  Old wounds were re-opened.  So all I could do was to keep waiting.


     Thus far I have already written to one party.  My letter was well received.  This is a miracle and I truly believe that God went before me to open their heart.   It does not mean they have forgiven me, but it is a start.  And even if no one forgives me, I will still be thankful for the chance to have shared my sorrow and remorse with them.  I know this is the right and honorable thing to do.


     This is all I will write for today.



January 4, 2001 (continued)


I feel stupid for allowing myself to be controlled by thoughts that I am now convinced were not all my own.  I know some people will see this as a “cop out” or a state of denial.  They can think what they want.  But over time as God began to heal my mind, I began to understand these things.


     What I am saying is not crazy stuff.  Any Christian who understands the things about God will tell you that what I am saying is correct.  Even Dr. Billy Graham will state that the Spirit of God is fully capable of speaking to a person’s heart and mind.  Christians all throughout the world will attest to hearing the voice of God speaking to their spirit and also, at times, being able to know the mind of God.


     In any event, over time God has spoken very clearly to my mind and He has indeed revealed these things to me.  Thanks to Him, I have a better understanding of what had happened and how this “Son of Sam” tragedy all came about.  It is too painful to dwell upon and I seldom think about it anymore.  I am only going over these things at this time for this journal, that perhaps others may better understand the powers of darkness, and hopefully even better appreciate God’s powers of love, forgiveness, healing, and hope.


     And I want to end today’s entry with a short prayer:


     “Lord, I ask you to continue to bring healing into the lives of those whom I have hurt in the past.  Touch them with your love and help them to cope with the pain and loss and grief that never seems to go away.  Thank You, Father God.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.”


David Berkowitz


January 8, 2001


“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

                                       Romans 12:15


          Jack* died today.  He had been in prison for maybe fifteen years and he was in his 40s.  It was AIDS.


     As far as I know he was not a Christian, and during our many talks, he always insisted that his help was coming from the “Hindu goddess Kali” as well as the “Virgin Mary”, and his “Santeria powers.”


     Jack was a jailhouse lawyer and a fighter.  I watched this stubborn and strong-willed man waste away, his skin covered with brownish-colored open sores.  It was gross to look at.


     I met Jack several years ago in the “Big Yard.”  He used to watch the Christian brothers walk around with our Bibles.  During the warmer weather the open yard was a place for some of us to meet impromptu.  Whenever a Christian showed up he hung out with the other brothers.  And of course inviting some unsaved men to pal around with us was the common practice.  And so here came Jack.


     When I worked in the chapel as a clerk, which I did for several years. Jack would almost always drop by for a discussion.  He worked as a porter in the same building complex.  Naturally I witnessed to him many times, and so did many of the other Christians.


       Jack was so stubborn, convinced he could solve life’s problems and lick AIDS by “thinking positive”.  But he did go to a number of our services, sometimes on Sundays and at other times when various ministries would come in.


     I wish I had some kind of confirmation in my heart that Jack turned to Christ and received Jesus as his Savior before he died.  I watched him get sicker as time went on.  There would be weeks when I would not see him because he was in the hospital.  He went on many medical trips for treatments.  He battled his sickness every step of the way.


     Last week, I heard that, once again, Jack was admitted to the prison hospital.  As with many who have the virus, (or as it is nicknamed, “the Monster”), they make their trips back and forth to the hospital.  But as they each get sicker and weaker there’s that one “last trip.”  This one was his.


     He never returned.  Quietly a few corrections officer went into his cell in the housing unit he lived in, and they packed his things.  This is how everyone knew that Jack won’t be back.


      He was well liked and respected among the inmates.  So everyone in the prison was talking about it.  When I got the news I wept silently for him and I will remember to keep his family in my prayers.


     I don’t know who or where they are.  But within the next several days or weeks someone from his family will have to come and claim his personal property (which is now in temporary storage).   And they will have to claim his body for private burial.


     However, if no one claims him, Jack will be in our Potter’s Field.  Every maximum-security prison has a Potter’s Field.  It comes with the territory because not every inmate gets out of prison alive, and not every inmate has a family.


     In fact, even some who do have families, they have the option to refuse to get the remains.  This sometimes happens, either because of  no money or no  interest.


     I hope that my friend Jack gets a decent burial, at least.  But most of all, I hope to see him in heaven one day.



*Jack is not his real name



David Berkowitz


January 11, 2001


 I have not made many entries in my journal of late.  I started off this new year physically tired.  So I have tried to slow the pace down to get refreshed physically and spiritually.


     I’ve been busy going to chapel services and Bible studies, answering letters and writing messages.  The Lord has opened many small doors for me to share my testimony with young people.  Mostly the crown that is confined to juvenile detention centers.  You know, the teens who are one step away form either going to prison or to an early grave.


     Christ can give them hope and turn their lives around, if they will let Him.  They need someone like me who’s been to “hell and back” (so to speak) to let them know that “sin” is not “in”.  It’s dangerous!


     I tell them in the written messages that God truly loves each one, that He has a plan and purpose for their lives.  That there is hope in Him.   This is the gist of it.


David Berkowitz


January 12, 2001


A few days ago I received a letter from a friend in Connecticut who shared how their church services have been going so well. They were so happy, and I was glad to hear this.


     Here is a portion of the letter I wrote back to them this morning:


          “I’m glad to hear how well your church services are going and that many people have been drawn to the warm and loving fellowship.  It is encouraging to get “good reports” about churches and what God is doing in them.


     “I’m tired of hearing about all the negative stuff, the scandals, the splits, the “moral failures”.  I know these tragic things do happen.  But God is greater and bigger than all of this.  We are always in victory when we are walking with Christ.”


 David Berkowitz


January 13, 2001


Several days ago I received word from a friend that a minister from Florida viewed THE CHOICE IS YOURS video and will be taking one or two copies with him when he goes to Taiwan, which is now part of China.


     Well here again is another answered prayer.  The youth in China who live in the big cities almost all speak English as their second language.  So taking the videos to evangelize will definitely work.  Praise the Lord!  God is faithful!


     And a few weeks prior to this there was yet another small victory.  My brother, Jess Craft, gave a missionary couple a copy of the SON OF HOPE video to take back with them to the Solomon Islands when they return.  They want to use it.


     The Solomon Islands are in the Pacific Ocean.  According to the prayer handbook, OPERATION WORLD, many of the churches on the islands are strong and healthy.  English is the official language, and there have been a lot of successful evangelistic outreaches among the high school students.  This is encouraging news!


David Berkowitz


January 18, 2001


“Six Months to Live”


     I cannot even begin to tell the public how much misery and self-inflicted suffering I have seen in prison over the years.  These prisons are places of so many broken dreams and lost hopes.  In here one can clearly see the high price tag that each convict has to pay for committing crimes and, as we Christians would say, committing “sins”.  I’m surely an expert in this area, now having spent almost half my life incarcerated.


     Today I was once again in the infirmary where I took my wheelchair escort to pick of his daily medications.  While I was waiting on line another inmate who I knew casually, having taken a behavior modification-type class with him several months back---the class was required---came up to me to ask for my prayers.  His name was Jim*.


     Jim shook my hand and started to cry.  He did not look healthy at all.  I thought he was going to tell me that he had gotten bad news from home.  Little did I know until he started telling me his problem, that he had gotten bad news from a doctor a few weeks prior.


     The doctor told Jim he had six months to live.  I was stunned.  He seemed fine when we attended that class.  But a lot can happen in two or three months.   Now the happy-go-lucky guy who loved to tell jokes while we were sitting in that classroom, was told that he has hepatitis.  His liver decided to stop working.  Jim’s body was now being poisoned by toxins.  He was dying.


     I’ve never seen Jim in church before.  When I would see him in the hallways, he was often carrying around athe latest lusty novel.  Like many prisoners, Jim loves to read.  But now he was asking for a Bible.  Funny how “bad news” can serve as a wake-up call.  The game is over and it’s time to get serious about life.  But poor Jim is in his fifties!


     My heart went out to him.  We were only able to speak for a few minutes because he had already picked up his medicine.  The rules are that, once you get what you have to at the medication window, you do an about face and walk out the door.  But he did manage to linger and talk


     I promised Jim that I would pray for him, and I urged him to go to the chapel when he had the chance so that all the congregation could pray in his behalf.


     Jim lives in a different cellblock than I do.  Not only have I put him on my ever-growing prayer list, but I will try to send over some Christian literature like the Guidepost or the Billy Graham Decision magazines, which we have in the chapel in abundance.


     “Please, Jesus, touch this man’s life.  Grant him a desire for repentance and the faith to believe the gospel.  Help him, dear Lord!”



*Jim is not his real name


David Berkowitz


January 19, 2001


     Sin, sickness, pneumonia, hepatitis, tuberculosis, cirrhosis of the liver, AIDS…the very common ailments of many prisoners.  The Angel of Death never lacks for clients in here


     But God is ever merciful to hold out His hands to offer forgiveness.  I am thankful that there is Light in the darkness.  Jesus says He is the “Light of the world.”


          I am the light of the world.   He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.     John 8:12



David Berkowitz


January 20, 2001

              “For the wages of sin is death…”

                                               Romans 6:23a



     Today I happened to see an inmate who was with me when I was living at Clinton Correctional Facility in the tiny town of Dannemora, New York, near the Canadian border.  I left Clinton almost fourteen years ago.


     I did not know this fellow very much back then.  He is just a familiar face.  But I recall that for awhile we had lived on the same tier.  When I saw him, he was hard to recognize at first.  AIDS!


     Fourteen years later I was seeing a walking skeleton.  Although he’s about 6”1’ tall, he could not have weighed more than one hundred pounds.  Rail thin, he looked like a concentration camp survivor.


     And while he was walking normally and was obviously managing okay, I know that he is one bad cold or flu attack away from death.  He’s the type I’ve seen so often over the years.  A bad cold quickly becomes pneumonia.  Having trouble breathing, they go to the infirmary.  Because they are HIV positive they are quickly admitted, and they’re never seen alive again.  Once pneumonia hits, it’s the final knock out punch.  There is nothing left in their bodies to resist.


     When many of the HIV’ers first start getting their array of sicknesses, most bounce back again and again because of the treatments.  But each time they go into the hospital, they lose some weight.  I almost never see the weight come back.  And with each bout of sickness, they get thinner and thinner, like the prisoner who passed me in the corridor.


     He’s too thin now.  I know it’s almost over for him.  He’s got one trip left.  When I see him again (if I do) I want to tell him my testimony and what Jesus Christ did for me.


     This dying man needs to know that God has something wonderful to give him—the gift of eternal life.  It’s free, and it will last forever.


          “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


                                              Romans 6:23b


David Berkowitz


January 23, 2001


This morning at about 11 o’clock I took my wheelchair escort down to the infirmary to see the doctor  while in the waiting area I again ran into Jim, the man who told me last week that the doctor gave him six months to live.  Today he told me that he was down to five.  Personally, it looks as if he’s down to two months.


     I thank God for the several minutes I got to speak with him.  He looked awful.  When I saw Jim last week, he wasn’t anywhere’s near as bad.  Now his face had sunken in noticeably.  His ankles were very swollen and his stomach was protruding far beyond his waist, as if he were trying to hide a basketball under his sweatshirt.


     Before the hepatitis began to destroy his liver, Jim was on the slim side, although by no means thin.  Now he looked sickly and pregnant, with a bleak yellow coloring to his skin.  He was also groaning in pain.


     Naturally our conversation centered around the health of his soul and of receiving Christ as his Savior.  Jim told me that the Catholic priest had already given him his last rites.  “What’s the rush?”, I thought.


      I told Jim that Jesus Christ loves him and died for his sins.  He insisted that he knew all this having been raised in catholic schools.  I was gentle and never pushy.  But I did encourage him to pray to God and to ask Jesus to help him.

I assured Jim that in this afternoon’s prayer meeting is the chapel, the brothers will be lifting him up in our prayers.  He seemed to appreciate this.  However I can see a big stronghold with his inability to repent and fully trust in Jesus.  He needs to be born again, and a lot  more praying on my part needs to be done. 


David Berkowitz


January 24, 2001


     I just got back from this morning’s prayer meeting, which was very spiritually fruitful.  I have been strengthened and encouraged in my mind and in my soul to continue to press on by God’s power .


     Every Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 3:35, and every Wednesday morning from 8:45 to 10:25,  we have prayer meetings in the chapel with a handful of Christians who do not have specific work or program assignments at these times.   Our chaplain supervises each meeting. 


     I can make it most Tuesdays after I drop off my escort at his classroom.  And on Wednesday mornings when I do not have to take my escort any place such as the hospital, I have free time to go the prayer meetings, although I am still “on call” for him.


     It would probably blow peoples’ minds if they could see a crew of convicted felons gathering with a prison chaplain to fervently pray for everything you could possibly think of.


     We pray for our church and for churches everywhere.  We pray for other inmates and their families, the guards and their families.   We pray for America and for our nation’s leaders.  We also ask for mercy for other nations, for those who are living on Native American reservations, and for kinds who are in every form of sin and bondage one could think of, from drugs and poverty to loneliness and suicidal thoughts.


     I thank God that those whom society casts off as useless garbage and refuse, the Lord is fully able and willing to take, clean up and use for His glory.


David Berkowitz


January 30, 2001


          For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

                                                            Isaiah 41:13



     Where would I be without the Lord’s help?  What would my life have come to if Jesus Christ had not intervened?   I am quite certain I would be dead, a case of suicide.  Surely if I were alive at this time without God in my life, I would be a bitter and sour man, angry at the world, hating others, hating myself.


     So often I realize how helpless I am without the Lord.  I am really like a little child tagging alongside his father.  Yes, God is holding my hand.  Forget being a macho man.  Without God I am nothing.  In my own strength I could never have survived all these years in prison.


     Moreover, although I know that the Lord has healed my mind and filled my life with peace, the fact is, I am still in recovery.  There are still terrible memories buried beneath the surface. Maybe it is best that for the most part they stay buried.  But from time to time, the bad memories do resurface.


     I am still learning to forgive myself.  I have completely and fully renounced my affiliations with Satan. This is not as easy as it sounds because the devil, who  is a spirit being, is still active in this world and he tries to attack again and again.  Every Christian recognizes and knows this truth. He must daily be resisted as we draw near to God.  The closer we Christians are to the Lord, the further we are from the devil.


David Berkowitz



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