VOLUME NOVEMBER 2004
November 1, 2004
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, who He hath redeemed from
the hand of the enemy.
May all those who have been redeemed from the clutches of the
devil proclaim their freedom throughout the world. And by God's grace, this is what I shall continue to do.
As I begin a new month, I am believing the Lord for many precious
ministry opportunities. I don't want to live in a state of unbelief, limiting God through doubts and fears. Instead, I must
remind myself that I serve an unlimited and all-powerful Creator. He has already delivered me from the grip of Satan, and
from the power of sin.
Nevertheless, I must continue to wait upon the Lord. For He
has begun to make more changes in my life. Thus, I need to remain completely yielded to Him so that such changes could come
without any resistance from my flesh.
And there will be many challenges ahead, I'm sure. The Adversary
will attempt to set himself against me. But good things will be happening during the remaining months of this year, as well
as in 2005.
November 2, 2004
The media is abuzz with reports and speculations about the
presidential election that is now taking place.
As a prison inmate I am not allowed to vote. I wish that I
could, however. It would be an honor to do so;
I have no citizen's rights as a convicted felon.
But my feeling about this exection is that God is always in
control of circumstances and situations. He is a God, I am certain, who is genuinely concerened about the welfare of every
person in this world, no matter where they live. So He cares about America.
Yet I also believe that we are a nation in desperate need of
a spiritual awakening. To me God is more concerned with human hearts than with politics. He does, however, put into position
leaders that a nation deserves. The Scripture clearly demonstrates this.
As for many of America's churches---please forgive me if I
am stepping on someone's toes--they are very backslidden and carnal, looking to worldly entertainmnents and emotional stirrings
to keep this "pumped up", and to keep the people coming.
Many churches, in my observation, have no love beween members.
Because of this the Holy Spirit has been grieved, and His power has been quenched, for a long time.
But God may soon do or allow something to help awaken us from
our low spiritual state. For a shaking is coming which, I believe, shall cause the church to get "on fire" for the Lord. If not, then many congregations will continue their
slide into complacency, apathy, and indifference.
November 3, 2004
CHANGES AND CHALLENGES
And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such
a time as this?
I began my journal for this month by writing about the changes
that are happening in my life, as well as the challenges that are ahead. And these things, in whatever forms they may take,
are not only for me, but for the church throughout the world.
Consequently, in light of such changes and challenges, I charged
my congregation to get ready for a shaking. The Lord, I believe, wants to pull His children away from our love for the things
of this world. He wants to break our attitude of complacency.
I also tried to encourage my brothers to stay close to Christ.
With His help we could have the victory over sin.
Difficult times are ahead for America, I told them. But I explained
that we can be part of the ready-remnant who will have words of hope for the desperate.
We've been called, I know with certainty, to do exploits through
he power of God's Spirit which works in us. We've been chosen to lift up the name of Jesus to a dying planet. And we are here
for such a time as this, I said, to bring glory to God's Name.
November 4, 2004
DON'T TRUST IN WRONG THINGS
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed is the man that trusteth in man,
and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
The election is over and Prsident Bush will remain in office.
But I don't want to have a false sense of security that our nation is safe because a professing Christian is in the White
The terrorists are still out there, and they hate the United
States of America more than ever. Likewise the devil is still seeking souls to destroy. And millions continue to practice
sin, giving no thought to a God of love and justice whom the Bible speaks of.
Thus I say with both humility and boldness that trouble is
ahead for the United States, and for the entire world. A period of tribulation is coming.
Jesus Christ spoke of this future time concerning the end of
the age. The book of Revelation discusses it. The ancient Hebrew prophets continue to shout their warnings from the pages
of the Old Testament.
America, please listen to me. I hear the drumbeats of a might
demonic army. They shall one day march across the earth using the bodies of evil and ignorant men. Their weapons will be lies,
hate, unmercifulness, fanaticism, and terrorism.
When shall this happen? I have no idea. Only God knows. But
it will occur just as the Bible predicts.
I give thanks to the Lord, however, because He is still holding
back this time of wrath. For now there remains time to repent.
November 8, 2004
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
Today was officially my first day working as a full-time janitor.
The prison's administration calls my job as a "porter". But janitor or custodian is more appropriate.
Much of my work consists of washing and disinfecting the eating
tables, sweeping the dayroom and other areas of the building, then mopping the steps and floors. I also do a lot of dusting.
There are windows to wash, too. And I and the five men I work
with take our turns cleaning the utility sink area. But I don't mind doing these things as I like to work with my hands. Most
of all, however, when I am done with my chores, I can go back to my cell to pray, read or write.
In addition, when I begin my janitorial duties in the morning
one of the first things that I do is use a powerful disinfectant to sterilize the telephones.
We have two telephones which have to be shared among sixty-eight
men. I had long since taken the initiative on my own to clean the phones, wiping the entire booths with the disinfectant and
a damp cloth. Over time many of the men have told me how much they appreciate this as the receivers with their mouthpieces
can be a big source of germs.
Overall, being a porter can be monotonous work, yet it's also
humbling. I have to clean up the messes that other people make. But as a Christian I am called to be a servant. This job,
therefore, is good training.
November 9, 2004
My job as a porter officially ends at 2:45 every afternoon.
This, therefore, affords me the opportunity to go to the prison's "West Recreation Yard" from three to four ao'clock, if I
During the colder weather most of the inmates who are eligible
to go outdoors for the standard hour of recreation, opt not to go. But I enjoy the fresh air, and I need the exercise.
So yesterday I went for my sixty minutes of freedom. But shortly
after I entered the yard, however, it began to snow. A fair amount of flakes were falling, although it wasn't cold enough
for them to accumulate on the ground.
A blustering wind was blowing the snow in my face, too. Yet
in the yard I met up with a Jamaican man who's a member of my congregation.
More than a year ago he told me that his wife
had been diagnosed with HIV. At the time he first learned the news he was concerned, trouble and desperate for prayer. Now
thankfully, his wife has been seeking a deeper walk with Jesus Christ.
As we were walking, though, I turned to him and
said, "Brother, let's pray for your wife right now." We did. We spent a handful of minutes asking the Lord to help, heal and
Bundled against the cold winds and snow flakes
that wet our faces, we continued to walk together until the hour was up. We then parted company and returned to our respective
I also went outdoors today. It was somewhat cold,
but there was no snow.
November 11, 2004
My soul longeth, yes, even fainteth for the courts
of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Because it is Veteran's Day most of the prisoners
are on a "holiday schedule". In other words, all our school classes and most of the facility's work assignments are cancelled.
I had to work for about an hour, however, in order to clean my cell block.
Then, around 9 o'clock, I could have gone to
the "North Complex" area of the prison to attend our annual Veterans Day gathering.
All the men who are veterans are eligible to
go to this event for a time of fellowship. We get a special breakfast of bagels and coffee which is followed by a lunch meal.
Then we spend the rest of the day watching movies.
The meals and movies are paid for by the men
themselves. Collections are taken throughout the year for each upcoming Veterans Day as well as for Memorial Day. But even
though I had paid my Veterans Organization's dues, this time I opted not to attend.
My heart wasn't for sitting almost the entire
day in a crowded and noisy room. So after I finished my work assignment, I chose to go into my cell to spend the remainder
of my day in prayer, reading, and writing.
Most of all, I wanted to be in the Lord's presence.
The cry of my heart is for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
November 12, 2004
The winter's first real snowfall began this morning.
Several days ago there were flurries along with a blustery wind. Now, however, large fat snowflakes have been spiraling downwards
from the sky. But it is still to early for the snow to stay on the ground for very long.
Something else, however, happened today that
wasn't as nice as the snowfall which lasted for a few hours and then stopped. I was issued a Misbehavior Report for a rule
violation. "113.15--Unauthorized Exchange".
At approximately 8:20 this morning, while I was
working, the cell block officer approached me and told me that someone had called for me from the Disciplinary Office. That
I had to report there immediately.
I had no idea what this was about, as I was not
conscious of breaking any rule.
When I then entered the disciplinary area a guard
showed me a report that had been filed against me the day before. I had to sign for my copy of the report so that I could
review it; it's the procedure.
I was surprised to read that on November 11th
at Approximately "1620 hours" (4:20 p.m.) I was written up by Correction Officer "G" for the following:
"On the above date & time, while packing
cell EN#...(inmate's name was given). I found a prayer book with writing on the inside cover indicating it belongs to David
The Misbehavior Report also mentioned that the
"book" that was seized as contraband was given an identification number in the prison's evidence Log. Once logged I know it
was placed in storage and under lock and key in an Evidence Locker where it will remain until the day my disciplinary hearing
I was given a Tier 11 level "walking ticket".
This is considered to be a serious level. But the lieutenant in in charge of the Disciplinary Office did not deem it necessary
for me to be confined to my cell until the hearing is held..
So I am not under any restrictions. I could go
about my business and I could continue to attend the chapel's services and Bible studies. However, within the next two weeks
I will have to appear before a lieutenant to answer for this rule violation.
But I am very surprised that anyone would actually
write up an inmate for giving another inmate a book about prayer. I know that the inmate mentioned in my report in whose cell
the book in question was found, is someone I have been sharing my faith with. He's an emotionally troubled individual, too.
Only the Lord knows what will become of this
report and the future disciplinary hearing.
It is alleged that I gave this man a book. I
didn't give him a bomb.
November 15, 2004
I am continuing to regain my strength. My heart
is fixed upon God, and I am filled with anticipation for the future, both in the coming months, and in the year ahead.
During yesterday's worship service I was able
to speak for about twenty minutes, before the main preacher came forward, on the subject of trusting in the Lord.
I read Proverbs 3:5,6 to the congregation. I
then began to tell them what I believed the Lord wanted me to say.
I know from the responses I received afterwards
that most of the men were encouraged. Others, franly, are never helped or encouraged no matter what may be said from behind
the pulpit. or who may be speaking. Nevertheless, at the close of our service the altar was crowded with men. My chaplain
was able to pray for each of them.
But what has especially filled my heart with
joy this past week is the good and open resonses I've been getting from two young men who live in my cell block.
One is a black man from Buffalo, New York. The
other is an Hispanic man from Brooklyn. Both are involved in gangs. And both want to disassociate themselves from these gangs.
Sadly, to me they already look like burned out soldiers who somehow managed to survive to many wars.
The black fellow lost one of his eyes in a fight
while he was in another prison. His right eye was gouged out by another inmate who jumped him. By now he's been learning to
survive with one good eye, and an unsightly black patch that hides the hole where his other eye had been.
He also told me that six members of his family
have been lost to violence, in and around the city of Buffalo, all within the past several years.
He has a wife who's doing time in a county jail.
His five children are currently being raised by various relatives. But the nice part for him is that he is doing a prison
sentence of only several years. And because his time is almost up, he's hoping for a January release.
As for the Hispanic man, he's been involved with
"The Bloods" gang since he was a teenager. He's been going to our Sunday morning chapel services, however, as well as reading
the Bible. So very soon, I pray, he will make that step of faith and surrender to Jesus Christ.
God's light, I believe, does indeed shine the
brightest in these dark places of the world. He is opeing hearts even behind prison walls.
November 19, 2004
TREASURES IN PRISON
This may sound offensive to some, but prisons
contain many of God's children. For it is in places like this where the Lord has hidden, for now, some of His special treasures.
Behind these walls are men and women who are
shining with the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, society's inclination is to dismiss
prisoners as unredeemable and incorrigible, with little worth, and having no ability to contribute anything of value to the
Even many Chriatians, I have observed, hold this
view. And many churches and ministries, likewise, have tried to keep a safe distance from those who are incarcerated. They
often do the same with those who've been released, but remain branded by law enforcement and the criminal justice system as
ex-cons, felons or parolees.
May I therefore humbly say that Christians who
hold these opinions and who act like this, are wrong.
Yes, there are men and women who are presently
confined to correctional facilities who have broken the law. And some may actually be innocent. While countless thousands
are now on parole, too. But God hasn't given up on them. He's never given up on me.
As the Bible makes very clear, with the Lord
there is forgiveness, mercy and hope.
Of course everyone must make his own choice.
Some will reject the incarcerated, while others will be able to see what the Lord is doing in the lives of these people.
But I do say this, "For God so loved the world,
that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
May I kindly remind everyone that "whosoever
" is a big word. It includes everyone. Amen!
November 23, 2004
At approximately 8:45 this morning, while I was
doing my janitorial duties, the cell block officer informed me that I had to report to the Disciplinary Office immediately.
So I left what I was doing and promptly went
my way to report to the lieutenant on duty at Disciplinary. I knew it was time answer the "ticket" I received on Novermber
12th for an alleged violation of Rule 113.15, "Unauthorized Exchange."
The prison's administration has up to two weeks
to call an inmate to answer to charges on a "Tier 11" level Misbehavior Report. Thus my being summoned today was within the
allowable time limit, according to the State of New York Department of correctional Services "Standards of Inmate Behavior
for all Institutions" manual.
Here at Sullivan Correctional Facility, the Disciplinary
Office is located near the front portion of the prison in close proximity to the package room, visiting room, and a short
distance from the Infirmary.
To get there I had to walk down three long corridors,
passing through a metal detector at a check point that is located at one of the central corridors.
Then once through the metal door at the entrance
to the Disciplinary Office, I handed my pass to the officer on duty at the main desk. He in turn directed me to a waiting
room where I had to sit until I would be called into the Lieuteneant's office to answer the charge.
The waiting room is a 15x15 foot windowless square
with wooden benches placed against the side walls. Each bench is bolted to the floor.
This morning the otherwise barren room had sitting
on its benches several gloomy faced men who were, like me, awaiting their turn to defend themselves against the various rule
infractions each was charged with.
At approximately 9:25 my name was called. I entered
the lieutenant's office and my hearing officially commenced at 9:27. It was also recorded on tape. A small tape recorder sat
on the desk positioned between the lieutenant and myself, as is the standard procedure for Tier 11 hearings.
The charge was then read to me. Next the hearing
officer asked me how I was going to plead, and if I had an explanation for my actions.
I also discovered that it was not a book about
prayer that I was accused of giving to the other inmate, as the Misbehavior Report stated. The Lieutenant showed me the evidence.
It was a little Gideon Pocket Testament, the same kind that God used to touch my heart about seventeen years ago.
So I humbly told the hearing officer that, yes,
I probably gave the Bible to the man mentioned in the report. I explained to him that it was my job, as a "Program aide",
to go from cell to cell while I was working at the Intermediate Care Program, to minister to the residents.
It was my responsibility, I told the lieutenant,
to look for signs of depression in each man. That I was there to help them write letters home, pray for them when asked to
do so, and give assistaace to every men in any way that I could. And of course this included giving a prisoner a Bible when
he asked for one.
The lieutenant, after listening to my explanation,
acknowledged that he knew I was a Christian and that I have concern for the men. But he also admonished me because the rule
says I am not allowed to give anything to another man, not even a Bible or a religious book, without first obtaining permission.
He also acknowledged my good institutionl record,
that I had not received a misbehavior "write-up" since 1989. Some prisoners log a dozen or more Misbehavior Reports Against
them in a year's time!
Nevertheless, I was found guilty of breaking
rule 113.15, making an "unauthorized exchange." I was to be automatically fined five dollars, which is the required penalty
for all Tier 11 Misbehavior infractions. Fortunately, however, I was given no other penalties, such as confinement to my cell.
Finally, the lieutenant counselled me not to
do this again. And when the hearing was officially completed at 9:39, I was then free to go back to my cell block and return
Overall the hearing itself went well. I spoke
respectfully to the lieutenant. I only gave a Bible to another prisoner. Other guys who are found guilty of making an "Unauthorized
Exchange" usually get such a charge for passing weaons or drugs, or for trying to pass other forms of contraband.
Later I told another officer, a man whom I've
known for many years, that if the inmates only handed books and Bibles to one another, he wouldn't have anything to worry
about. He laughed and admitted that it was problably true.
Yet while I was not upset about getting a ticket
for giving another inmate a Bible, I did feel foolish.
I'm 51 years old. So having to report to the
Disciplinary Office, then being required to sit on a chair witrh my hands folded meekly in my lap, while a sharply dressed
lieutenant sat behind this big wooden desk as he eyeballed me suspiciously, reminded me of being an adolescent in junior high
school getting summoned to the Dean's office for a scolding.
I felt likd a naughty little boy who got caught
for putting a rotten egg on a hot radiator in a classroom, causing the room to stink.
The write-up was pointless. Of course I kept
this thought to myself.
November 27, 2004
"...there was given to me a thorn in the flesh..."
2 Corinthians 12:7
I don't share everything that I am doing with
my life or everything that happens to me in this journal. And there is much I have chosen to be quiet about, such as certain
situations that are difficult to discuss, or problems that even if I wanted to I could not put them into words.
Now is such a time. It is yet another time of
betrayal and a "personal crisis" that I cannot go into detail about. But the pain is real, and my spirit is troubled.
Of course I have been through these things before.
And there are no doubt many trials and tribulations still ahead for me that, while I am not worried about any of them will
all have to be confronted in their due season.
One thorn, however, that has stuck tight against
me throughout the years, is my notoriety. People sometimes try to get close to me in order to seek monetary gain or for some
other kind of personal profit.
I have often told my friends that if Jesus Christ
was being crucified in our day, and if He were on the cross at Golgotha at this very moment, I believe that within less than
twenty-four hous later His blood drenched garments, the crown of thorns, the bent nails with bone slivers embedded in them,
and even pieces of wood from that rugged cross, would all be up for sale on Ebay.
This is an exceedingly corrupt world where the
love of money is still the "root of all evil" (1Timothy 6:10a)
Therefore, in light of a personal problem I must
deal with, I'm retreating into my prayer closet. It's time for me to seek a word from the Lord, and to place my needs and
requests into His hands.
I am going to the Throne of Grace, so that I
may find the help and mercy that I need.
And with this, I am closing my November journal
a little early.
I hope to be alone with my heavenly Father until
I receive instructions as to how to handle the situation
Thank you, everyone, for your prayers.
End of my Novermbver 2004 Journal.