God Accepts Our Praises

Palm Sunday is just days away, which means Easter is around the corner! I’m not yet ready for Easter to come because I have no idea how to transition back onto facebook. It has been a really nice break, and my days have been calmer yet fuller for all the hours I don’t lose to social media. Of course, I’m looking forward to Easter for so much more than breaking my facebook fast, but I am also doing my best to savour Lent rather than wish it away.

One thing I’ve enjoyed over Lent is having more time for music – I alternate playing piano at church with another woman from the congregation, and I’ve been practising quite a bit because it’s my turn to play on Palm Sunday. One of the hymns I chose to play is All Glory, Laud and Honor (recommended by eHow, which actually has an article for everything, including good hymns for Palm Sunday. It’s crazy.) and one of the verses has blown me away. Hymns get a bad rap sometimes because they have weird melodies and strange words, and they’re so much less palatable than new songs. For better or for worse, however, I’m glad our church has a blended service because so many hymns have nuggets of theological gold that we’d be foolish to simply toss. Hymns may not sweep me away with emotion, but getting backhanded with truth is sometimes just as effective for the state of my soul as a good cry during a light show.

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Book Review: The Queen’s Handmaid

The Queen’s Handmaid, by Tracy L. Higley follows an orphaned servant girl from Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria to Herod’s seat of power in Jerusalem on a quest to deliver secret writings from the prophet Daniel that foretell the coming of a Messiah. Along the way she must elude the schemes of petty fellow-servants and the dark magic of those who want the scrolls to remain lost forever. With no idea of who her parents were, she is also on a personal journey to find her place in the world and her true identity as a child of God.

Before reviewing this book, I read another historical fiction novel by Higley titled Garden of Madness which I thought was fantastic (two reviews for the price of one!*). That book brought ancient Babylon to life through the eyes of a likeable character and a plot that featured romance, mystery and a great spiritual connection. I was hooked early into the story and followed all the twists with so much excitement. I was truly entertained and inspired by the tale, and for this reason I was so excited to review another novel by the same author.

Unfortunately, The Queen’s Handmaid did not measure up to my expectations –

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Book Review: Seeking Allah Finding Jesus

I was intrigued to read this book since we live in such a diverse neighbourhood. I know Muslims as kind, hospitable people who share many aspects of faith with me, but I also know there is a world of difference that separates our cultures and our religion, and I was eager to learn more. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is Nabeel Qureshi’s account of his journey from faith in Islam to faith in Jesus Christ, and it is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Qureshi is a fantastic storyteller who brings his devout Muslim upbringing to life, setting the backdrop to understand his sincere and fervent adherence to Islam, which leads him to investigate the evidence for both Christian and Muslim beliefs in an effort to convert his Christian friend to Islam.

By the title of the book, you can guess the ending, but reading through his quest for truth was so engaging for me. I felt the tension as every aspect of Qureshi’s worldview came into question, as he faced the cost of what converting to Christianity would mean for him and his family, and I was so encouraged in my own faith as I reviewed the objective evidence that testifies to the truth of Christian claims. I have a greater appreciation for the Bible, a better understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, and I can better articulate my confidence in Jesus’ resurrection after reading this book.

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