VOLUME APRIL 2004
April 1, 2004
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
I just learned that a dear friend has died. "Sister Jean",
as I fondly called her, went into eternity to be with the One she loved the most, Jesus.
Jean was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) after
suffering her first heart attack in 1989, according to her closest friend, Tammy, who wrote to me with the news of Jean's
Sister Jean was a walking miracle, however. When she received
her diagnosis of CHF, her doctor told her that people with CHF "live 3-5 years" after their first heart attack. But Jean proved
the doctor wrong by living until March 20, 2004.
It was around August 1999 when Jean first wrote to me after
she saw my interview on Larry King Live. Unknown to me until I got her first letter, Jean told me that she had been praying
for me for many years. So when she saw me confessing my faith in Christ, Jean was thrilled.
As a woman of strong faith, Jean's letters were full of good
advice and words of encouragement.
My sister and friend also prayed for my interview with Focus
on the Family. She wanted it to go well, and I think she prayed about this every day during the weeks prior to the interview
taking place, and up until its airing seven months later.
Unfortunately, however, Jean may have missed the airing of
this program because, in Tammy's letter, she told me that Jean had been in a hospice until March 16th. But I know that her
precious prayers helped to move mountains of obstacles from my path. They definately assisted in bringing the "Focus" interview
When Jean did not answer my letters of January 1 and February
14 (Valentine's Day), I knew that something was wrong. I began to sense that Jean was going to be leaving this earth very
soon; and she did!
Then, three days ago, when a prison guared handed me Tammy
's letter at mail call, as soon as I saw the envelope with the return address, I knew that Jean was gone.
I will miss my sister's letters. Thankfully, though, Tammy
told me that Jean did not suffer, and that she died peacefully in her little apartment.
Jean was a very special godly woman. Two things the Lord taught
me by her life were that one is never to old or infirm to be used by God. Jean had a monthy newsletter that she published.
Also, that a Christian will not always see the reards of his or her faithful service in their lifetime.
For the most part, since her first heart attack in 1989, Jean
was often physically weak and atired. She even had seferal heart attacks since. Yet by God's grace, she pressed on. She never
quit serving the Lord until her heart beat for its last time.
My beloved sister's life involved much affliction. But her
rewards are surely ahead.
April 2, 2004
CONNIE AND CAROLYN
There were so many caring and God fearing women who helped
the Lord Jesus with His ministry. And throughout the Scriptures one can see that God has placed into the hearts of many of
them a hunger to touch lives and bless others through acts of kindness and generosity, and through their prayers.
Jesus, the Bible tells us, had Mary Magdalene, from whom He
had previously delivered from demonic oppression. Then there was Joanna and Susanna, and "many others" who devoted their lives
to Jesus and assisted Him (Luke 8:1-3).
I myself believe that women often make the best prayer warriors
and intercessors. Perhaps it is their God given desire to show mercy as well as a longing to see people experience the love
of Christ that makes them want to pray frequently and fervently.
It appears, too, as if the Lord has placed inside women tender
hearts that long to plead for those who are hurting. They want people to be helped and healed, and then get safely nurtured
in the arms of the Savior.
In my own life God has placed some spiritually mature and caring
women to intercede for me, and to bathe me in their prayers.
Yesterday I wrote about Sister Jean. Today I want to mention
Connie and Carolyn. They have their own families, yet God has called them to pray for me. They've been doing this for many
Connie and Carolyn attend the same church in Virginia. In a
letter Carolyn wrote to me shortly before the new year, and she said these words: "Brother David...Connie and I pray for you
always. I always see you in my prayers like a strong tree whose branches extend out to the four corners of the earth. I don't
know how God is going to do it, but your ministry is going to bless multitudes. So many are wounded and fearful, and you are
going to be a fruit (word) spoken in season."
Slowly, little by little, Carolyn and Connie's prayers for
me are being answered. And it is only by God's grace that what Carolyn has written here can come to pass. For in and of myself
I can never become these things.
How thankful I am that God has blessed me with such kind and
lovding Christian sisters. Their prayers and words of encouragement are a continual blessing.
I pray for them, too.
April 4, 2004
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and
every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
On March 1st I wrote about a time of change that began to happen
in my life. Several people whom I had been close to for many years, have discontinued their relationship with me. From the
human standpoint I do not know why. However, I have begun to see God's hand in this, and I am thankful and grateful for what
He is doing.
Christian growth can be an enigma. There are times when things
seem to be going smoothly and I sense myself growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.
Then, at other times, disruption occurs. Hindrances happen.
Changes take place; some rapidly, some slowly.
Such changes often seem at their beginning to be unsettling.
But the Lord says to never allow my heart to be troubled; I'm to trust in Him always.
The Lord, you see, is a Master Builder. He's the caretaker
of the vineyard with all its trees and branches. And as a Christian, I am a branch.
Now, although I did not understand it at first, God has blessed
me with good changes. But at the start I was confused. I was fearful of being abandoned by others. Deep seated feelings of
rejection and abandonment began to surface.
Over time, however, God's peace filled my heart. He has everything
under control. He always has, and He always will.
As the Bible says, "And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
So then, even the painful periods of pruning are for a good
purpose. At the hands of a loving Shepherd such purging and purifying means He is preparing me to bear even more fruit. This
is all God's doing, and it is wonderful. The Father knows best.
Furthermore, during this particular time, I began to realize
that I had to learn how to relinquish the control other people were having over me.
Although I love them dearly, and perhaps one day the Lord will
allow them to come back into my life, for now it is best that they're gone.
Emotional attachments are difficult to break. So God had to
come and do a work inside my soul to help me to understand this.
Now, though it is as if blinders have been lifted from around
The ones whom God has removed from my life, maybe for a period
of time, or perhaps permanently, were controlling me emotionally. Probably without even realizing it, they were placing soulish
and carnal roots in me that were not good.
But at some point in our respective relationships, each of
them began to be constant complainers and faultfinders who tried to steer me in the directons they wanted me to go.
The Lord would not allow this.
April 8, 2004
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom He receiveth.
In my March 6th Journal entry I wrote about Nostrand Barton*
and his transfer to a medium security prison. For Mr. Barton this was a good thing, as I am sure that such a move to a lower
security classification will afford him more freedom of movement and a few more privileges.
In my entry for March 9th, however, I wrote about Danny* and
his transfer to Sing Sing correctional facillity, a prison that's known for its drugs, gangs and violence. Yet even in such
a place there are many inmates who manage to accomplish good things. They attend classes, learn a trade, or go to the chapel
services. It may be a bad place but it's not the end of the line.
For Danny, I believe, his transfer was a chastisement from
While he was here at Sullivan Correctional Facility, Danny
made a lot of trouble for the brothers in our church. He never listened to the elders. He would often unsettle the rest of
the congregation by spreading bad rumors and by creating an atmostphere of discord.
When he was suddenly transferred most of us breathed a sigh
of relief. His departure was like the passing of a violent hurricane.
Nevertheless, I am continuing to pray for this young man. I
know that God has not rejected Danny.
Sadly, though, earlier today I heard through the prison's grapevine
that shortly after he arrived at Sing Sing, Danny did encounter some problems. Personal letters and some of his property was
For Danny, his transfer and the difficulties he's recently
encountered are a wake up call from the Lord.
Jesus Christ loves him, and I am confident thqt Danny will
survive his ordeal.
Still, God's strong but loving hands of correction and discipline
have fallen upon him, however. And as a result of this the rest of us have learned a powerful lesson, too. We are not to live
in rebellion to God's word, and we're never to live as Danny did while he was here.
April 9, 2004
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
The Lord is so faithful to remind me that my labor for Him
is never in vain.
It was a month ago that my testimony was aired on the Focus
on the Family radio program. Yesterday I received a wonderful letter as a result of the program. I will quote it here with
the hope that the readers of my journal will be encouraged to continue serving Jesus Christ:
"Dear David, may God's presence be there with you in special
way this Easter time. I know yhou are rejoicing in Him for what He has done in your life, and in the lives of all of us who
have accepted Him. He is no respecter of persons, and, praise God He makes us a new person--'old things are passed away, and
behold all things are new.'
I recently received a copy of the tape of hour interview on
''Focus on the Family, which was done last year, I believe.
It was played on Dr. Dobson's program a couple of weeks ago.
As I listened, tears came to my eyes again to hear what God
has done, and is doing in your life. I continue to pray for you and to give out the tract of your testimony.
You have encouraged me to continue my jail and prison ministry.
At my age of 82, and 12 years in prison work, I sometimes feel it may be time to lay it aside. But when I hear testimonies
like yours, it makes me realize that's where my heart is and where God has called me. So I am encouraged to continue on....Mr.
H.W., Mission Viejo, California"
April 17, 2007
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye
It's Saturday evening. Right now I'm in my little prison cell
basking in the spiritual afterglow of this afternoon's worship service.
While the sunshine and warm temperatures tempted and beckoned
many prisoners into the recreation yard, about fifty of us went to the chapel instead. For visiting us we had a 20-member
choir who came from the City of Poughkeepsie, New York.
There is something wonderful about praising the Lord with men
and women from outside these prison walls who have the anointing of God upon their lives, and who love Him too.
With the acoustics of our house of worship, it often sounds
as if there are more people in the building than are actually present.
Approximately fifty inmates and 20 guests made for seventy
people. Yet as we all began to sing, and when I closed my eyes, it seemed as if five hundred were there.
And as tears flowed down my face, and as I lifted my hands
into the air, it felt as if my soul was being cleansed.
This group calls themselves "HIS Choir." Then as we sang and
clapped our hands in adoration for Jesus Christ, the time flew by so fast.
The brothers and my chaplain spent two hours with these Christians.
I wanted the worship to go on forever.
April 19, 2004
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency
of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:7
Earlier this evening I went to a service in the chapel. The
minister who visited us from the outside surprised me by calling me up to the pulpit. He then told me to give the sermon.
I joked with him and said, "Thanks for the warning."
But it so happened that I did have a message to share with
the congregation. So I spoke for about 20-25 minutes on what I had been reading from the Bible this morning.
I read to everyone most of Second Corinthians chapter four.
My emphasis, however, was on the seventh verse. That the Lord has chosen to place His treasure, the Holy Spirit, in each of
us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ.
I spoke too about or "light afflictions" and how they work
for us a far better and eternal reward in glory. That the rewards for our faithful service to Christ, and for having to endure
many trials and persecutions which come our way in this life, will have tremendous reward in heaven.
I then explained in depth how God wants us, as Christians,
to both salt and light of Jesus while we're on this earth. I said that non-Christians are watching our lives, and they want
to see how we handle life's trials and difficulties. For how we endure our daily struggles helps to prove the reality of our
When non-Christians see us living lives of peace, joy and inner
tranquillity, this lets them know there is hope in Jesus.
Yet, on the other hand, if they see us falling apart emotionally
when we're going through tough times, and they see us becoming discouraged and even bitter, they will in turn make their personal
judgement that there's really nothing to Christianity after all.
If there is a God, some of them may reason within themselves,
then He is not a loving being who cares about His children.
I also reminded the congregation that God has chosen to place
our lives on display.
I said that, in a sense, all that people wil ever see of Jesus,
will be what they see of Him in us.
They wil either see deep faith mingled with love and joy, or
they will see doubt, fear, and unbelief. If they see the former, God may use our steadfastness to draw others to Him for salvation.
But when they see the latter, these observers may draw the incorrect conclusion that we Christians serve a weak God, if there
is actually any God at all.
However, Jesus is genuine, and He wants us to be victorious
because He will get the glory when we triumph over our trials.
We can indeed be used by the Lord to demonstrate to a society
of people who are seeking meaning and purpose in life, that the divine power of Jesus Christ is real; it is living in us.
I then concluded the message by assuring the brethren that
in spite of our feeble flesh, God has chosen to place his treasure in us because it's not really about us, it's all about
April 21, 2004
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the Columbine High School
shooting rampage which left fifteen people dead, mostly teenagers. Both young gunmen died as well as an heroic teahcer who
lost his life trying to protect his studients.
This tragedy, I believe, was mostly about unchecked anger,
seething rage, and increasing hostility in the minds and hearts of two very troubled teenagers.
Everyone from the parents of the killers (who are no doubt
still suffering terribly), to the friends, neighbors and classmates of these men missed all the classic warning signs of impending
violence. In retrospect some did see a few of the signs, but they either did not do anything about it or they ignorantly thought
that somehow everything would simply turn out okay.
As a Christian, and as a man who was once similarly troubled
when I was younger, I cannot help but think if there was some way to have reached those two kids before they undertook their
The insidious poisons that slowly seeped into their minds over
time, however, from the websites that proclaim the diabolical teachings of Adolf Hitler (they were fascinated by Hitler and
carried out the killings on his birthday), to the violent movies and video games they were addicted to, certainly fueled their
inner rage. Whatever messages they received from Hitler's writings or from those movies and games, apparently served to justify
within themselves what they were about to embark upon.
Ultimately these two young men would unsettle our nation for
many years to come. They would also leave behind hundreds of grieving family members and friends of those who died.
And, ironically, they would also serve to "jump-start" a spiritual
revolution that would sweep across America when people everywhere whose hearts were torn by this tragedy, would begin to pray
for the healing of our land, and over the loss of innocent lives.
Furthermore. shortly after the rampage, the parents of murder
victim Rachel Joy Scott would find and publish their daughter's diary and personal writings.
Rachel's writings have since touched the hearts of multitudes
in unique ways as she, although no longer on this earth, wrote extensively about topics like forgiveness, faith, hope, and
showing kindness to people.
Of course I do not have all the answers as to how to prevent
such similar tragedies in the future. But I must do my part, however small, to reach as many young person as I can with a
message of hope, as there are many of them who are very angry right now. For them this world makes no sense, and seems to
have little meaning.
April 28, 2004
On Tuesday morning I left the prison to go on a "medical trip"
to a large city. It was an approximately 2 1/2 hour ride both ways.
This was the first time I was out of the facility in several
years. I rode in a van with two correction officers and an armed corections sergeant. But since it was a small vehicle I was
able to look out from the screened windows.
As per the standard procedure when a prisoner is being transported,
I had to be handcuffed at the wrists. I also had my feet shackled together with cuffs similar to handcuffs, but a little larger
to accomodate the ankles.
While the trip was interesting although uncomfortable because
of the heavy steel cuffs, chains and shackles, I did not want to be reminded of life beyond the prison's walls.
The officers were decent, though. The young guard who had to
sit in the seat behind me was friendly and talkative. He asked me many questions about my faith in Christ. It was one of the
most encouraging conversations I had had in awhile. This man was really listening!
The hard part for me was not in having to sit with all the
security hardware on. Instead it was in seeing all the beauty outside the van's windows.
As we drove past town after town I saw many lovely but simple
homes. People were working in their gardens or walking about on a sunny and gorgeous day.
I saw deer, too. And there were many rivers, creeks and streams,
all swollen with water after several days of very heavy rains.
The hospital, however, was crowded with people. Most of them
were the medical staff or other workers. But there were others walking about, too.
With the officers in front and behind me, I shuffled up and
down the long corridors wrapped in rattling chains and cuffs. This wasn't a pretty sight for anyone to see, It'm sure.
Fortunately very few people even bothered to look my way. They
seemed more embarrassed than I was to have a prisoner in their midst. But I got the exam my doctor insisted that I take.
The procedure lasted for a little while. I was anesthetized
for most of it. I awoke lying on a portable bed with the guards standing over me. A medical technition soon appeared alongside
me to ask if I was okay, and to let me know that a full report of what they found or did not find will eventually be sent
to the prison's doctor.
Then it was time to get dressed and be tied up again in the
security hardware for the return walk to the van, and the scenic ride back to Sullivan.
I've been feeling a little down today, as expected. Seeing
yesterday's sights was painful. I was reminded of a world beyond these walls. It is a world I cannot go to or be a part of
April 30, 2004
Joseph, the son of Israel (formerly Jacob) is one of my favorite
characters in the Bible. I have been going through the Genesis account of Joseph's account, again.*
I had written about Joseph in my journal entry for December
31, 2003. What suffering he endured!
The Lord was molding and making Joseph into the humble man
and strong leader God wanted him to be. This Joseph was taken from a pit to a prison. Then, after many years in that prison
for a crime he did not commit, the Lord allowed various circumstances to come about that would cause Joseph to be placed in
a palace and become the second in command to the Pharoah himself.
Although I am guilty of the crimes I have been charged with,
as opposed to Joseph, who was innocent on all counts, I believe the Lord is doing something similar with me as He did for
God is taking me along the "narrow road" that leads to eternal
Such a road with its narrow passages is filled with many spiritual
potholes, trials and temptations. But the Lord is with me wherever I go.
And as for Joseph, he eventually obtained his freedom from
both prison and later on, from Pharoah's household altogether. He was able to return to his father and his family .
Yet while I may never be able to return to my father or be
reunited with my family, I am experiencing the same spiritual reedom Joseph had.
*Genesis chapters 37-50
End of April Journal