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Dear COA Family,

As we come to the end of the year and embark on a new year, it is an opportune time for us to give
thanks to God for his blessings of us throughout the year. I will therefore write a three-part devotion
on how we can grow in thanksgiving.

I have heard this said to me by some people, “I have nothing to thank God for!” Is what they are
saying true? Are their lives so terrible that there is nothing to thank God for?

This week, the Lord has been showing me that we must be thankful, especially for the things that
we have taken for granted. This is because there is so much that we have taken for granted. And
we fail to glorify God when we do not give him the due praise for what He has done for us.

So, what have we taken for granted? Let me share three areas (hence, my three-part devotion):
1. Protection for our lives so that we are safe and secure
We often give thanks for the spectacular – like how God delivered us from a dangerous situation. But
how many of us have thanked God for keeping us from harm? This is not so obvious but very
important as well.

A testimony was told by a missionary who had ministered the gospel in Central America which was
under the control of drug cartels. One day, he was in Hong Kong for a conference and during his lunch,
he noticed a man who was staring at him intently. When he confronted the man, the man replied, 
“I used to work as a contract killer in Central America for the cartels and you were one of my targets.
But on the night I was supposed to kill you, I couldn’t pull the trigger. Something was preventing me from
doing so. So, I threw away the gun and fled because I knew that if I did not succeed in killing you, the gang
would come after me. I escaped to Asia and miraculously came to know Christ. You may not believe it
but this is the story I want to tell you.”

As you can see, even though the missionary did not know it, God was protecting him from danger.

In the same way, God protects us from harm – even the harm that we do not know existed. I
suspect that when we meet with God, we will learn of all the countless areas He has watched over
us. Let us therefore be diligent in thanking God for our safety and security every day.

God bless,
Revd Ian

(Parts 2 and 3 will be shared next week.)