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Son of Hope Prison Journal

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Son of Hope Prison Journal
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Enter content hereDavid receives no money from the sale of the book. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold will go to the New York State Crime Victims Board for distribution to the victims of David's crimes.

"The conversion of the "Son of Sam" gives every single human hope. The blood of Christ washes clean even the vilest of crimes - and this has surely happened in David Berkowitz's life. The journal is especially fascinating to me because of the insights it gives to the slow death prisoners experience in the emptiness of prison life. It should challenge us all to renew our efforts to minister behind bars." - Chuck Colson, Founder and Chairman, Prison Fellowship

"How low can a person sink in moral turpitude and unbelievable acts of cruelty before it is impossible to turn around and become a positive influence in the community? Is basic spiritual transformation likely or even conceivable after one has crossed the line into barbarous criminality? Here is a case in which the claim has been made that a turn was made from the bowels of hell back up to the path of civility and compassion. Can this story be true? What if it isn't? Read, ponder, and draw your own conclusions." - The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister, The Riverside Church

"The conversion of David Berkowitz is one of the most amazing miracles in the history of Christianity! From a life of murderous destruction as Son of Sam, David has been transformed by the grace of God into a tender-hearted follower of Jesus Christ." -Pastor Jim Cymbala, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church

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David Berkowitz

On March 3rd, 2000, David Berkowitz wrote in his prison journals:

"By God's grace I am living proof that anyone can be forgiven if they want to be.  Who would have ever thought that such a wasted life like mine could be redeemed and salvaged and by absolutely no goodness within myself?  Jesus Christ has redeemed me.  He purchased me, David Berkowitz, murderer, criminal, monster, devil worshipper, with His own blood.  Who could understand a love like this, a love God has for wicked and fallen mankind?  I do know that I am not worthy.  I was nothing, lost demented.  He put a song of mercy in my mouth that I might tell others of His wondrous love and God's burning desire to save sinners from their self-destructive ways."

David Berkowitz The mere mention of this name still sends shock waves through the public's imagination.  From late 1975 through 1977, over a thirteen-month period, David Berkowitz went on a killing spree in the New York metropolitan area that left six people dead and seven wounded.  Dubbed the "Son of Sam" killer, Berkowitz was finally captured.  He confessed to his crimes and was sentenced in 1978 to 365 consecutive years in prison.

David has now been incarcerated since 1978.  His first years in prison were filled with turmoil as he went from one prison mental health ward to another, still driven by demonic spirits.  But something significant happened ten years into his prison sentence.  A fellow inmate began to share the love, hope and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with David.  At first David mocked him, because he did not think that God would ever forgive him for the crimes that he had committed.  But little by little, as the inmate persisted and shared what Christ had done for him, David began to listen:

"He kept reminding me that no matter what a person did, Christ stood ready to forgive if that individual would be willing to turn from the bad things he was doing and would put his full faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross: dying for our sins.  He gave me a Gideon Pocket Testament and asked me to read the Psalms.  I did.  Every night I would read from them.  It was at this time the Lord was quietly melting my stone-cold heart."

Eventually, David Berkowitz accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and has been walking as a Christian for more than 16 years now.  "Son of Sam" was transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ into "Son of Hope."  His prison journals offer irrefutable evidence, for all who are willing to read and examine them, that God has indeed done something miraculous in this man's life, and it is marvelous to behold.

David's personal testimony is used by several Christian organizations as an example of the life-transforming power of the Gospel.  The Gideons, whose Pocket Testament first exposed David to the Psalms, use his testimony as a tract, as does Moments With The Bible and several other organizations.  The Larry King Show has come to Sullivan Correction Facility, the upstate New York prison where Berkowitz is incarcerated, to interview him.  So has Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family.  David Wilkerson of New York's Times Square Church has read one of David's letters to his congregation during a Sunday morning service.  Jim Cymbala of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church had a message that he personally asked David to write, Jesus at the Door, read to his congregation during a special church youth service.  And Darrell Scott, who lost his daughter Rachel Joy during the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, regularly corresponds with David, and has visited him in prison.  A host of other Christians and non-believers from all walks of life, from every corner of the planet, regularly write to and visit David and share with him their problems, their triumphs, their aspirations and their hopes.

The list of Christians and Christian organizations that make use of David Berkowitz's testimony and his life for the cause of Christ is longer than the list of secular news organizations that have tried, in vain, to discredit his faith.  David Berkowitz is the real thing.

This is the witness that is documented in Son of Hope, the journals that David Berkowitz has kept since September 11, 1998 which are posted on the FORGIVEN FOR LIFE website.  To read these journals is to experience the awe-inspiring power that the Gospel of Jesus Christ still has to transform a human life, and to restore, reconcile and forgive one who has committed even the most heinous of crimes.

God's Grace And Mercy

The familiar words, "Amazing grace, How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," were written by John Newton.  Once an infidel, libertine and contemptible slave trader, Newton's tombstone later testifies he was "by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy."

Paul, the apostle, described himself as ". . . blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man ... who put many of the saints in prison and, when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them" (1 Timothy 1:13, Acts 26:10).  Later, he declared, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. . .  I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

Obviously, each man was radically transformed.  And, it was not virtue or character that was the transforming agent, but transformation was caused supernaturally by God, His grace and mercy.

Grace would not be grace if it was limited to and bestowed upon only those who merit it.  That would impose a precondition upon God's free gift.  But God is sovereign, and as he told Moses, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy" (Romans 9:15).  And Jesus said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners" (Mark 2:17).  It is God's business, not ours, to do what he wants to do with his generosity.

Unmerited Favor

It is precisely because God's grace is offered to all without any preconditions that man's sensibilities are often offended.  Just as many in Jesus's day were indignant that he healed the sick on the Sabbath, many are still offended that God's abundant grace can go out to those who seem unworthy of his kindness.  It is easy for us to believe that God should show mercy and reward "good" people but it seems unfair that he does so to those who have done real evil in their lives.

The Bible states, "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).  So, today, God remains ready and willing to freely pour out His grace and kindness.  Grace is available to the person who is virtuous, and to the person who may have been, like John Newton and Paul in the past, notoriously wicked.  And so in our generation, God's grace and mercy were available to David Berkowitz.  And he received it.

God's grace not only forgives and cleanses, it changes a man from the inside out.  The power of the Holy Spirit has supernaturally transformed a man once filled with hate, violence and purposelessness into a vessel of love and hope, even made him a writer and preacher, who ministers God's love and mercy to others.  The words of John Newton and Paul were born of the Holy Spirit.  Newton wrote, "Amazing." Paul wrote, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Read the Kingdom message of hope contained in David Berkowitz's prison journals and see for yourself that the Gospel is, indeed, alive and well in our generation; still capable of supernaturally transforming any life willing to yield itself to Jesus Christ.



Christian Comments

There are a lot of people, Christian and non-believers, who David Berkowitz has been corresponding with for years.  They are The Friends of Hope.  Here is what some of them say about David:

"I also know that you are an adopted son of our great Lord in Heaven and he will protect you.  My brother I will joined with my brothers and sisters, walk with you down this path.  We have an opportunity to expose the schemes of evil and display the life altering, redemptive power of Jesus Christ." Steven, Altadena, CA

"I heard your interview with Bill Meyer of Focus on the Family.  I found myself totally absorbed with your testimony . . .  What an encouragement!!  Our God is certainly a gracious and merciful God!! . . .  I felt that in your interview and in your journal entries that you really live out this Gospel day to day.  This has caused me to stop and re-think how I live out my witness.  I have been a Christian well over 25 years, yet I'm afraid that my day-to-day witness is lacking.  My conversion was not as dramatic as yours, but my destination prior to conversion was the same.  We should all be living witnesses to the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ, and I think you provide a good example.  Yours is a ministry of encouragement."  Kevin, San Antonio, TX

"I have been reading your journal entries . . . this is wonderful!  As I read, I could see the depth of your heart of compassion and love for the men in the facility with you . . .  I believe your willingness to let this be on the net and available to all will be a tool in the Lord's hands to bring others to him.  I also feel this will help the church in understanding your heart and that you truly are a transformed, new man in Christ . . . sometimes I get really weary with the church giving you a hard time about your changed life.  Do they believe God's word or not?  They are just passing judgment.  God have mercy on them.  My heart breaks for those who are in such bondage.  They can be saved but someone like you can't?  Lord please open their eyes and set them free.  David, you ARE a son of hope, who points to the ONLY Hope that your fellow inmates and the world has.  There is no other way.  Our wonderful Lord forgives all and heals all.  My sin is no different than yours, cancer is no different than a headache.  He understands the difference, but His unfailing, redeeming love is the same.  We are all new in His sight."   Mary, Akron, OH

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