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Walking Our Faith | Tools for the Journey: There’s an app for that

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Tools for the Journey: There’s an app for that

No matter what your faith tradition or what you believe, you need tools for the journey. When your heart and mind tell you, “I need to know why I believe, why it’s not enough for me to just accept the faith of my parents, not enough for me just to sit in a pew on Sunday,” there comes a time when we feel a desire to take hold of what we have taken for granted.

This search for meaning came to me when I was in college and then again after I graduated and moved to New York. After seven years of searching, I left my parents’ Presbyterian Church and joined the Catholic faith. That was 35 years ago.

There also will come a time in our lives when we face what feels like an impossible bend in the road: a diagnosis of cancer, the unexpected death of a loved one or the loss of a job. We know that life is full of unexpected twists and turns, but when they happen, we need to be prepared with tools for the journey.

As in so many past years, I began this New Year with another plan to read the Bible. Last year, I read through the New Testament, and the year before, it was the Psalms. I want to get to know this book that sits on a shelf for most of the year, this Bible that is the foundation of my faith and yet still remains a mystery.

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But I realized that I most often reached for the Bible in times of need. That’s when I opened to the pages of the Psalms and poured out my heart, just as David poured out his.

When life throws us unexpected turns, we need to be prepared. We need to know that we are not alone, that we stand with all the angels and saints, and most of all, we need to know that we are loved by God who sees us, knows us and loves us.

So the tools for the journey are more than reading the Bible as just another book that we will cross off our list this year. I believe the Holy Scriptures are truly tools for the journey of life.

And it’s not just reading the Bible in a year. It is digging in deep, focusing our attention on lessons we need to learn at this stage of our lives, finding consolation during times of pain and finding encouragement when our faith falters.

It is also finding a Bible study group or a religious discussion group of your faith tradition that meets during the week outside of the traditional weekend service — a place where you can put down roots and discuss your faith with others, question, argue and most of all deepen your faith, deepen your knowledge of what you believe, and question what you don’t understand.

So here are some practical tools I am falling in love with this year:

Dwell audio Bible app

This app allows you to listen to the Bible in voices of men and women from around the world. There are reading plans to take you through the Bible in a year and daily scriptures that are as short as 30 seconds. There is a plan to listen to popular Psalms and Proverbs in a month as well as topical studies. In other words, there is something for everyone.

I’ve begun listening to it as I read along in my Bible. More often than not, I find myself listening to the same passage two or three times, to really let the message sink in. I listen to it in the car on the way to work, and I listen to it at night before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning when I’m doing devotions, in other words there is no perfect time to listen, just listen.

English Standard Version Scripture Journal

Someone had the brilliant idea to offer each of the books of the Old and New Testament as separate 5-by-8-inch softcover books with scripture on one page and a blank lined page for journaling on the facing page. These small books easily fit into a coat pocket or purse to take anywhere. I love them! They really encourage you to dive deep. And most of the individual books are moderately priced around $5.99.

An inexpensive blank notebook

I write out a daily gratitude list, and throughout the day I thank God (sometimes out loud and counting on my fingers, as I’m walking around) for the small and large things in my life that remind me I am blessed in all circumstances.

This is part one in a three-part series titled “Tools for the Journey.” Part two will cover Prayer. Do you have a weekly prayer meeting you’d like included? Part three will discuss Bible/faith study groups. Does your church or faith group host a midweek group? Email the details to the address below.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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