First: Thanks to special effects, no cats were actually harmed during the writing of this column.  Second: The ‘Kicking Cats’ story is not original but it’s so good, I’m using it anyway to make a point.
The steering wheel has never been gripped tighter as Jim drove to work on Monday morning. Jim was angry — real angry. Early that morning his wife told him, “I can’t take your workaholic ways anymore. We’re through. If you don’t learn to spend more time with your family we’re leaving, forever!”
Upon arriving at work, Jim stomped toward his office, smacked the intercom button on his telephone and shouted for his sales manager: “Larry, come to my office immediately!”
Larry was a first-rate manager employed for twenty three years but sales were off. “Larry, I’m tired of your poor production and pitiful excuses. I expect you to whip our sales staff into shape. If you can’t, then I’ll hire someone who can and I don’t care how long we’ve been together. Do you hear me?!”
“Yes sir.” What else could Larry say? Plenty, for he walked out mumbling. “That no good, sorry excuse for an owner! Where does he get off threatening me after I’ve worked so hard for him all these years? We’ve seen rougher times than this before. All this abuse because of a few bad months? What a jerk!”
Larry then barged into his top sales rep’s office: “Robin, I’m tired of making you look good. You wouldn’t be number one if I wasn’t feeding you customers. Last month when I really needed help, you let me down. If you don’t do better, I’m replacing you with a real sales person. Do you understand?!!”
Robin understood all right. “He has a lot of nerve jumping on me after all the sales I’ve generated for this company. Everyone knows the only reason he became a manager is because of me!” As she sat and stewed, the phone rang. Robin shouted to the receptionist: “Hold all my calls! If you were any kind of decent receptionist, you would know that I’m busy! Just remember — you too can be replaced!”
“Well, the nerve of that prima donna!” thought the receptionist. “Who does she think she is?” For the rest of the day, whenever anyone called, instead of a pleasant “Thank you for calling our company. How can I help you?” The unfortunate caller was met with a gruff, “Hello, what do you want?”  
When the grumpy receptionist finally made it home that evening, she walked in on her son lying on the couch watching TV. “Son, how many times have I told you that with mother working all day, you need to carry more weight around here. This room is a filthy, disgusting mess. How dare you watch television when I work all day like a slave! Go to your room. You’re grounded — for life!”
Upset and angry the boy hopped from the couch and as he stomped toward his room he noticed, Ellis, the family cat lying asleep on the floor, minding his own business in the middle of the den.
Can you guess what happened next? Before the poor critter could utter a decent meow, the boy gave the cat a vicious kick which sent him flying across the room. Ouch!
Question: Wouldn’t Jim be better off going to the receptionist’s house and kicking the cat himself? Another question: Who’s been kicking your cat? Yet another question: Whose cat have you kicked?
We live in a negative cat-kicking world. Don’t we? None of us are immune. In order to deal with it we need extraordinary strength and courage to keep our attitude focused in the right direction.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is thanking the church for a generous gift but he makes an interesting statement. “I’ve learned to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”
Wouldn’t you love to have his contentment? How do we obtain it? When someone is kicking our cat:. How can we learn to respond with gentleness and grace? Good Question.
Next week: A few answers!

From: Beatrice
Subject: “Thank You”
I wrote you asking for prayer 3 years ago. I was at a very difficult place in my life. I had been hospitalized for depression and in the process lost my job, my fiancé, my beautiful car, my friends, my family, my money. I was so lost, it hurt so bad. I lived in Kenya and just needed to get out and start over as I felt I would surely suffocate. You were there with simple encouraging words. Just there. Thank you. I am now completing my PhD in Australia, I won two prestigious scholarships and even though my boyfriend just broke up with me, I am positive about life, the future and the faithfulness of God, the goodness of people. Thank you. Really, thank you. Beatrice Imathiu
Did you know that I also have a worldwide prayer ministry where you can receive prayer request from all over the world, once, twice or three times per week? Better yet, you can also have the option of sending an email directly to the person requesting prayer and offer words of encouragement.
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