Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

IN LOVING MEMORY OF MIRIAM BEELTE (NOVEMBER 29, 1992 TO APRIL 7, 2019)


            We, the members of Unit 1012: The VFFDP, offer our utmost condolences to the loved ones of German Tourist, Miriam Beelte who was murdered in Thailand on April 7, 2019. There was some justice served as her killer, Ronnakorn Romruen, was sentenced to death on July 10, 2019.

We will also remember two German women: Carolin Gruber and Maria Ladenburger. We thank the Thai people for showing support to the victim.

Miriam Beelte
(29 November 1992 to 7 April 2019)
[PHOTO SOURCE: https://forum.loohan.com/viewtopic.php?id=635&p=4

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

THE CONVERSION AND EXECUTION OF TOKICHI ISHII by John Piper


39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
– Luke 23:39-43

Tokichi Ishii


                This article by Pastor John Piper explains that even a condemned criminal has the opportunity to repent and accept Christ before his execution.

The Conversion and Execution of Tokichi Ishii

March 29, 2016 by: John Piper

He Truly Met the Living God

Tokichi Ishii was hanged for murder in Tokyo in 1918. 

He had been sent to prison more than twenty times and was known for being as cruel as a tiger. On one occasion, after attacking a prison official, he was gagged and bound and his body suspended in such a way that his toes barely reached the ground. But he stubbornly refused to say he was sorry for what he had done. 

Just before being sentenced to death, Tokichi was sent a New Testament by two Christian missionaries, Miss West and Miss McDonald. After a visit from Miss West, he began to read the story of Jesus’s trial and execution. His attention was riveted by the sentence, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’” (Luke 23:34). This sentence transformed his life. 

I stopped: I was stabbed to the heart, as if by a five-inch nail. What did the verse reveal to me? Shall I call it the love of the heart of Christ? Shall I call it His compassion? I do not know what to call it. I only know that with an unspeakably grateful heart I believed.

Here is an example of the power of God’s word to awaken well-grounded faith, even if the believer does not know how to describe what has happened. In the context of Jesus’s life, one sentence (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”) was a true and compelling lightning bolt of divine beauty. It was enough. Faith was born. And the foundation was solid. 

Tokichi was sentenced to death and accepted it as “the fair, impartial judgment of God.” Now the word that brought him to faith also sustained his faith in an amazing way. Near the end, Miss West directed him to the words of 2 Corinthians 6:8–10 concerning the suffering of the righteous. The words moved him very deeply, and he wrote, 


“As sorrowing, yet always rejoicing.” People will say that I must have a very sorrowful heart because I am daily awaiting the execution of the death sentence. This is not the case. I feel neither sorrow nor distress nor any pain. Locked up in a prison cell six feet by nine in size I am infinitely happier than I was in the days of my sinning when I did not know God. Day and night . . . I am talking with Jesus Christ.


Here is the key: Through the word of God, Tokichi Ishii had truly met the living God. He had seen the glory of God in the face of Christ. He now knows God. “I am infinitely happier than I was . . . when I did not know God.” This was real knowledge with a real basis in the divine beauty of Christ as he prayed for his enemies when they were killing him, and as he died for them. The authenticity of Tokichi’s experience did not depend on his ability to put it into words, though he did this with remarkable effectiveness.

Authentic Faith Is Not a Wager

What we have seen here is that there is no authentic faith—no saving faith that honors God—based on a guess. Embracing the reality of God in Christ, revealed in Scripture, is not a wager.
The only kind of trust that honors the one who is trusted is a well-grounded trust. The experience of Tokishi Ichii illustrates that a person may come to that kind of well-grounded trust even if one lacks sufficient words to describe it. 

This article is adapted from A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness by John Piper.


John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring GodDon’t Waste Your LifeThis Momentary MarriageA Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

  

"They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil." – Thomas Aquinas



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