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Standing Up On the Inside

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This time of year reminds me of a guy who was drafted into the Army. When they told him he would be in for four years, he started grabbing every piece of paper he saw. He would look at the paper and say, "This isn't it." Then he'd grab another piece of paper, look at it, say, "This isn't it," and throw it away. Even when the general walked by, he grabbed a piece of paper out of his hand, looked at it, and said, "This isn't it, either." Every piece of paper he grabbed, he would look at it and report, "This isn't it."

His superiors were concerned about him and called in the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said, "You have a problem. What is this strange habit you have? What is it you are looking for?" The man said, "I don't know. I just know I haven't found it yet." Then he started looking through the papers on the doctor's desk, but they weren't what he was looking for. The psychiatrist decided he was seriously disturbed, so he wrote up a "Section 8" discharge and handed it to him. When the man looked at it, he smiled and shouted, "That's it!"

I want you to know that this is it! This is the time we celebrate Easter. The world doesn't get it. They celebrate Easter with a rabbit that lays eggs. I guess it has more staying power than an Easter chicken. Of course it is also a great time for some to dress up. With three daughters in my home, it was the time of year when they would say, "We don't overspend, you underdeposit." Then after Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, and dressing up, people come to church and gripe that every time they come, the preacher preaches on the resurrection. If they would show up on Christmas, they would get the beginning of the story. Maybe they could alternate between Christmas and Easter.

What is it really? Forget the bunnies, bonnets, and big crowds, what are we really celebrating? For me it is summed up in His last words, "It is finished."

Have you ever felt like you were finished? It's a bad-hair day, payday someday, sad day, all rolled into one that makes you want to cry, "Mayday." Your boss tells you, "The last train leaves Sunday at noon — be under it." The only holiday you want to celebrate is April First because you feel like a fool. All your dreams seem to be dead, all your hopes are trapped in a tomb, and there's a boulder over every escape. The fat lady, or rather (we want to be politically correct), the nutritionally enhanced lady is singing and you know you're finished.

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Well I want to tell you, this is it! Because of Easter, you're not finished. He said it was finished, not He was finished. What is finished? For one thing, death is finished. I'm excited about that because I've noticed that death runs in my family. Also, Satan's power is finished and God's power is revealed. Because it is finished, you're not. Because He came back from life's biggest hole, you can escape any hole you're in. Because it is finished, every minus can become a plus.

A little boy wandered into the church building and saw a huge cross. He ran to get his mom to show her the biggest plus sign he had ever seen. Because it is finished, life can become a big plus sign.

Evidence of Easter in the apostles' lives was not just in what they said, but in what they became. Even the most pitiful Peter, who must have felt finished, became powerful. Yes, it is finished and because it is, you're not. Tell the fat lady to sit down. Yogi Berra was right; it's not over until it's over. We have resurrection power. Roll some boulders away, bring some dead things back to life. Get up! The referee is still counting! Get back into the fight!

Children sum it up so well. A little boy went to the fair with his dad and saw one of those inflatable clowns that you try to knock down. Of course the harder you hit it, the quicker it comes back up. The father watched as the little boy continued to punch the clown, only for it to bounce back up again. Finally his dad interrupted him and asked, "How is it possible for the clown to keep standing back up, no matter how hard you hit it?" The little boy scratched his head and said, "Dad, I think this clown is standing up on the inside."

You may feel knocked down, maybe even finished — but remember to stand up on the inside. Because He stood up after the world's hardest knockdown punch, you, too, can stand up again.

By the way, He didn't finish everything. He did not do what everyone wanted him to do — He finished what He came to finish. You will not finish everything either but you will finish what you were created to do. That's it!