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Is Papaw in Heaven?

Daily Reading: Revelation 16

Scripture Focus: And God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. (Revelation 16.19b)

Devotional Thought: A few weeks ago, I was asked the question, "Is Papaw in heaven?" That's tough - especially at a funeral. What do you say when 'Papaw' was obviously not a Christian?

As a young pastor, I was scared to death of doing funerals, especially when the deceased was not a Christian. Eugene Simpson, my District Superintendent, helped me so much. He told me, "Scott, remember that your funeral sermon cannot preach one person into heaven, nor can you preach one person out of heaven." That is reflected in the words of a graveside committal: "This body we commit to the ground. The spirit we leave with God, the just and merciful judge of the earth."

You see, it isn't our job to judge anybody. Our information, at best, is inaccurate and incomplete. Often, it is biased. But, there is One who is not subject to our biases, who sees perfectly and forgets nothing (except confessed sins!). God remembers.

Babylon, in the book of Revelation, is a metaphorical reference to Rome and the oppressive systems of this world. At times, the government - or other powerful sources, such as media, business, and Hollywood - line themselves up against the children of God. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that the world would hate us because it hated him. The good news is, we don't have to seek vengeance or try to mete out the correct punishment for the crime. We don't even have to keep track of it. God remembers.

So, is 'Papaw' in heaven? We will leave it in the hands of the Lord, for God remembers.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us for failing to think about the eternal destiny of lost souls. Stir our hearts to bear witness to the salvation of the Lord. And then, Lord, having done all we can, help us to leave their spirits with God, for you remember. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 109.6-15

6 Appoint a wicked man against him;

let an accuser stand at his right hand.

7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;

let his prayer be counted as sin!

8 May his days be few;

may another take his office!

9 May his children be fatherless

and his wife a widow!

10 May his children wander about and beg,

seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!

11 May the creditor seize all that he has;

may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!

12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him,

nor any to pity his fatherless children!

13 May his posterity be cut off;

may his name be blotted out in the second generation!

14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,

and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!

15 Let them be before the Lord continually,

that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!

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