Study Guide: Review + Renew | January 2018

Image by Vanessa Welch

Image by Vanessa Welch

Dear friends,

Welcome to 2018! How good it feels to be here. I can’t wait to introduce you to the January study guide. But first, allow me a brief digression.

I’ve been reading Anne of Green Gables with my seven-year-old each night and, of course, have fallen in love with dear Anne-with-an-e all over again. Don’t you just love it when you revisit old friends beloved characters and remember all the beauty they brought to your life?

Anne is a particularly potent example of an individual who refuses to let life’s circumstances dictate her attitude, her choices, or her potential. She can’t help but rise above.

Consider a few of the pearls of wisdom that L.M. Montgomery gave to us through Anne’s perspective:

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” 

“Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them—that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

“‘Dear old world,' she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.’” 

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Beautiful, right? I think all of us would do well to have a bit of Anne Shirley about us as we head into the New Year. Her love for life, her determination to thrive, has made me smile and reminded me that it is often in the simple pleasures of life that we find the most profound inspiration. 

As I compiled resources for this month’s study guide, one other thought dominated my mind: There is no one-size-fits-all method for progress. There is no magic bullet that can bring inspiration to each one of you in the same way, that can motivate all of you and drive everyone to change. There isn’t one study guide that can reach every single reader. 

But there is One whose power and influence is one-size-fits-all. There is One who can inspire each of you in just the way YOU need, who can motivate you and drive you to change your life in the way He would have you do. There is One who can reach every single reader, and He is ready and waiting to do just that. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the only guide you need.

With the goal of truly effective reflection in mind, we urge you to print out this guide and use it like a workbook. Prayerfully consider the scriptures, the sermons, the questions, then write ALL over it. This study guide will not do much good if it stays behind a screen. 

A little bonus incentive to print is included with this month’s study guide: a beautiful hand-lettered art print of Ecclesiastes 3:1, courtesy of Jolieke Van Baaren. Our hope is that this small but mighty verse of God’s word will remind you to be patient with yourself and patient with God as you seek to grow your faith this year.

Lastly, let us remember Him, first and foremost, as we review 2017, gleaning all the light and knowledge we can from our experiences. Let us set our sights on Him as we renew our commitment to progress in 2018.



Megan Grant is the Study Guide Editor for The Small Seed. A wife, mom of three, and erstwhile attorney, she is on a quest to create a joyful life sustained by grace and the power that comes through obedience.