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The Power of a Focused Heart

The Power of a Focused Heart

8 Life Lessons from the Beatitudes  

by Mary Lou Redding
Discipleship Generosity

Looking to simplify your life? quiet your mind? find your unique spiritual gift(s) and make a difference? Turn to the Beatitudes!

Sometimes teachings from well-known biblical passages are so obvious and preached so often that we overlook other helpful, not-so-obvious lessons. The Beatitudes are celebrated as being the template for humble Christian living. Dig deeper and you'll also find practical applications for living a simpler yet more spiritually engaged life, especially in this distraction-heavy and frenzied world.

"…the Beatitudes are not easy sayings we can glibly incorporate in our way of life," writes Redding. "Like so much of what Jesus said, they invite us to move beyond first impressions and surface meanings. They challenge us to explore."

Using Jesus' teachings about the kingdom of heaven and how that message spurs us to critically evaluate our priorities, Redding says we must learn to say no to some things to say yes to God.

The book's brief chapters are just-right for today's busy schedules and can be read in minutes. Daily exercises following each chapter will help you consider and practice lessons learned and respond to scripture in a self-guided study. Also included are meeting plans for an 8-session small-group study of the book.

Mary Lou Redding is interested in many disciplines-art, literature, music, science, philosophy, religion, politics. She is a writer, thinker, feminist, loving mother and grandmother, as well as an outspoken and direct person. One of seven children, Mary Lou is the mother of an adult daughter and grandmother of two nearly perfect granddaughters. Before becoming an editor and writer, she taught basic and advanced prose writing and business communication on the college level. Teaching about writing and the Bible is one of her great loves. Mary Lou has a master of arts degree in rhetoric and writing and worked professionally as a writer and editor for many years, retiring as editorial director of The Upper Room daily devotional guide in 2012.


"The spiritual life is not about performance but about growing dependence on God, and one of the best markers on the pathway to deepening the relationship with God is the Beatitudes. Writing with clarity and offering personal examples and a well-designed study guide, Mary Lou Redding leads and challenges us to become truly centered in God and to know the power of a focused heart. Blessed are those who read this book."

— Larry J. Peacock
Author of Openings: A Daybook of Saints, Psalms, and Prayer
Director of Rolling Ridge Retreat Center (North Andover, Massachussetts)

"I am over 90 years of age and have preached for 68 years. I've read thousands of books. The Power of a Focused Heart is one of the best and most timely books I know. It's a self-help book for individuals who want to discover the true meaning and purpose of life. It's also a wonderful resource to use with a discovery group of kindred folk. If you mean business about discovering who you are and why you are here, I recommend that you read this book."

— Dr. Kermit Long
Founding Pastor, Friendship House (Phoenix, Arizona)
Former General Secretary, Board of Evangelism
The United Methodist Church

"In her succinct and powerful manner, Mary Lou Redding reveals the spiritual essence of the Beatitudes, using concrete terms we can apply easily to ourselves. Her insight into Jesus' teaching not only encourages individuals to reflect and examine themselves as Christian disciples but also motivates local congregations toward social action and community ministries. Redding challenges those who want to be transformed into dynamic servants of Christ, motivating them to take God’s grace to hurting humanity."

— Rev. Jennifer Bryan
Minister of Outreach and Evangelism
Lenexa United Methodist Church (Lenexa, Kansas)

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