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Mary Hepburn is in her 24th year of writing a column for the North Platte Telegraph.

Why had I never heard about the story of Satan having a garage sale? This story has been circulating for over fifty years. It’s been written and rewritten by pastors and anyone connected to Christianity.

It is such a compelling story that grabs your attention and makes you realize how easy it is to fall into Satan’s trap of discouragement.

Read it for yourself and you will see what I am talking about.

“Satan had a yard sale”

The devil held a garage sale. Demons came from the deepest pits to bid on the tools of hell. At one table anger was selling cheap — so common, so plain, and so effective. Greed brought a big price and pride drove bids to unheard of levels. Multiple copies of the jealousy tool were hot items. Lust, as always, was bargain basement.

The shrewdest demon in hell took Satan aside and said, “Tell me, what is your best tool?”

Satan nodded to a steel box in the corner, “It’s over there, but it’s not for sale.” The demon tried every crafty dodge in hell to get Satan to sell, but he wouldn’t budge.

About that time, a fight broke out at the table selling violence. Satan ran over to inflame the situation. Before long, everyone was focused on two hissing demons. Satan led in a chorus of taunts and curses — all in all, this was turning into a great demonic party!

The shrewd demon wandered over to the box that held Satan’s prime weapon. Carefully, he slipped the latches and raised to top ... not a very impressive tool; small really, but the demon did not doubt its potency. He turned the cold little instrument over to read the label, and then he understood. The label simply read: “discouragement.”

Once you are on the road to discouragement, your thinking changes. It goes from positive to negative in a flash. Suddenly your cup is half-empty, and yesterday it was half-full. It is the same cup, but your perspective has changed. Now, you see it differently. That is what discouragement does.

You begin to believe that you will fail miserably.

I knew Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, would have some words of advice on this topic.

Here are his four causes and cures when discouragement hits.

Causes:

» Fatigue — When you are physically or emotionally exhausted, you’re a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement.

» Frustration — When unfinished tasks pile up, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed.

» Failure — Sometimes, your best laid plans fall apart.

» Fear — It is behind more discouragement than we’d like to admit.

Cures:

» If you need a break — take one! You’ll be more effective when you return to your task.

» Discouragement doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing the wrong thing. It may just be that you are doing the right thing in the wrong way. Try a new approach.

» Just ask God. He can give you new energy. There’s incredible motivating power in faith.

» Fight back! Discouragement is a choice. Do what’s right in spite of your feelings. No feeling lasts forever.

When discouragement gets the better of you, don’t let Satan get the upper hand. Remember God is right there with you. You have what it takes to overcome Satan’s attack.

Get your confidence back. It’s still there.

You never really lost it at all. That is what Satan wants you to believe.

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