The Meaning of Purity

Purity is more than abstaining from Premarital sex. – Shantel Gross

Growing up, I thought I knew what it meant to be pure. I knew that when people asked if I was still pure, they were trying to see if I was still a virgin. I honored my decision to walk in purity but did not know in depth what it meant to live a pure life.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 ESV

In my pursuit of purity, revelation came like raindrops from the sky. I studied workshops, speakers, videos, scripture, and articles on the topic.

Holy Spirit began showing me that purity is beyond not having premarital sex. It is a mindset, a heart condition, and a way of life.

In Psalm 51:10, David asks of God “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He cried out to God after having had slept with a married woman by the name of Bathsheba. Not only did he sleep with but after finding out that she was pregnant, he had her husband Uriah purposefully killed while at war.

I can only imagine the agony and stress that the adultery caused the kingdom. But King David remembered one thing. To call on the name of the Lord.

Pure

  • not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material.
  • without any extraneous and unnecessary elements.
  • free of any contamination.

Our intentions must be pure just as well as our actions. We must strive for purity in all encounters of our lives, more importantly within our hearts.

Living a pure life requires surrender. Every wound, every desire, every lust has to be surrendered to the One who can carry it all. Our Heavenly Father.

Although not always easy, we must guard our hearts so that how we live is a reflection of Christ, who is Love. We must love unconditionally and this is only achievable through the Holy Spirit.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NLT

It’s okay if you don’t have it all together or all figured out. Trust me, I am the same way. It is not merely in our ability to accomplish things on our own but our trust in God. Allow Him to lead you. Be encouraged my friends!

PRAYER:
Father, Help me to live a pure life. As your Word says, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. I surrender my will to you and give you permission to expose and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I need you. Thank you for loving me and hearing my prayer. Amen.


Check out my latest Facebook live about living a pure life here!

The Love Encounter

I learned to love from a distance. As long as you didn’t get too close to me, I was fine. As long as you didn’t invade my space we were perfectly fine. But you were different.

You told me that you loved me and I felt something. As much as I tried to hide, you sought me all the more. I was afraid to let you in. I thought you’d see something that’d make you turn away. My heart had suffered enough damage.

It ached and dripped with bruises and scars from the past. You smiled softly, looking intently into my eyes. Placing your hand over mine, you held my heart with me. It was the one thing I felt that I had left. The one thing that I attempted to shield.

I felt warmth coming from your palms and fingers as I slowly released my grip. I finally decided to let you in. The flood gates opened and the poison began to drain. You said “I am life” and my heart began to heal. I could not have done this without you. I’ve needed you ever since. And you’re constantly, readily, and deeply available to me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Journey to Rest

Despite my busy schedule as a teacher, musician, worship leader, and blogger, I’ve felt a higher calling upon me. A calling to rest. If God rested on the seventh day what makes me think that I’m too dignified to do so?

So I’ve decided to take a step back and enjoy the beauty that can so easily be ignored. In this moment, no longer was I Shantel the teacher, Shantel the minister, or even Shantel the adult. I became Shantel the explorer. As I started my journey, I got to fill my love tank with the wonders of Baltimore.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Walter Hagen

Take time to reflect on God’s goodness and embrace the wonders around you. There’s beauty all around.

Never forget that you are a work of art.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT

Til next time.


To check out more amazing artwork, visit the Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore, Md. Sites featured: Walter’s Art Museum, Peabody Institute, and the George Washington Monument.

It’s our Anniversary!

Hey! It’s a celebration! Life to Your Soul turns 4 today!

We started this blog with the hopes of inspiring others in their walk with Christ and sharing personal stories. We are pleased to say that God and your support have exceeded our expectations. Because of your support we have hosted two events in Baltimore City, mentored hundreds of youth & young adults and partnered with other organizations. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you all! The best is yet to come!

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

Not Of This World

Maybe you are preparing for this holiday season. Silver bells… I’m sure some of you have already put up the Christmas tree & lights. Well, as you are preparing the house and getting the list together, I’d like to share this reminder with you.

You are not of this world.

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die. ) 

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” 

John 18:28‭-‬36 NLT

When questioned by Pilate, Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. He knew that others could have defended Him but He remained driven. 

Imagine, being wrongfully accused by thousands and having to give a response. How would you feel and what would you do?

Jesus was sure of was His identity and the ONE who sent Him.

12/05 – Not Of This World

You are loved, treasured, and favored by God.

Because Jesus knew the Father’s love, He was able to boldly give an account of His purpose for being here.

We also must be reminded that we are here to produce good fruit and share the Good News of salvation with others.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

Be faithful over what God has given you. Do what He has called you to do wholeheartedly.

Don’t be disheartened when people do not understand you. Do not be dismayed when they wrongly accuse you. Your heavenly Father is with you and His reward is greater.

Prayer for the day

Thank you Father for Your goodness. Thank You for Your bountiful mercy and endless love. When I am overwhelmed comfort me with Your steady hand. Remind me of your unfailing love and your kindness. When others do not understand me may I be content in Your approval.

*If you’d like to learn about Salvation, click here.

Matters of the Heart

We can conquer anything in this day.

Matters of the Heart – Prayer Call

For I know the thoughts I have toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11

This past week I faced new challenges. New transitions in school and new challenges at home. Getting to know my students and adjusting to my new schedule. However, God’s grace prompted to strategize and perfect my situation even in sticky circumstances.

I began to feel conflicted and weighed down. My timing, mixed emotions, fatigue, and processing everything. I had so much on my mind and lost focus of actually creating steps to execute. Life has a way of hitting you in the face when you’re not paying attention!

Why do we struggle? Is it in our best interest? What I’ve come to realize is how we operate is a reflection of our hearts.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

What have you been wrestling with? Fear? Doubt? Depression? Insecurity? Panic? Whatever it is, it will eventually drain you if you don’t release. This is not an overnight fixer but embrace that journey of God uprooting ever lie that you’ve partnered with.

What have you allowed to harbor in your heart? Have you become bitter? Have you lost hope? Have you become complacent?  Our hearts hold chambers and we have to allow the blood of Christ to flow through.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

What are you meditating on? Whatever we believe shapes our reality. If you take on a lie that you’re unimportant or that you don’t matter your life will reflect that. The enemy loves when we partner with lies. Sometimes we do it unknowingly. We fear that things won’t work out or we joke about it. Meditate on God’s word and other sources of light. Read an empowering book. Listen to some worship music! I love instrumentals.

Side note: Be mindful of who is in your circle!

What are you speaking? Speak the truth. Speak affirmations like these.

G o d, y o u ’r e s t i l l g o o d.

Regardless of how bad you may feel your day has gone, there is always a reason to be grateful. You serve the King of Kings!

What are you wearing? I’m not referring to those nice khakis or ripped jeans you have on but what is your spiritual armor? When you wake up put on your armor! Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:36

Trusting the Master

pasture

I will call upon your name. Keep my eyes above the waves. Hillsong in Oceans

10/03 – Trusting the Master Call

You didn’t see this coming. It knocked you right off of your feet. And although you thought you covered all measures somehow tragedy still struck. It was the loss of a loved one, another job denial, a new balance added to your account, or having to start all over again. So many questions. So many questions. You try to make sense of it all but no matter how you cut it, it still does not add up. This, my friend, is the struggle.

You are truly, seriously lost, even though you know exactly where you are. Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World.

What God has revealed to me is that we have to trust Him. When we do, we are able to breathe and sleep at night knowing that He is caring for us. As the Great Shepherd, He looks after each of His sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:14-16

Even when you don’t understand God is still there.

L o o k, S m e l l, T h i n k, T a s t e, a n d L i s t e n.

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him. Psalm 34:8

As the loving Father He is, God covers us with His word and has equipped us for the journey.

Look for the reminders that God has placed in your life. Look for God in the little things. 

God is in the details. He’s in the wind. He’s in the trees. He’s in the earth. He’s in the flowers. Everything around you is giving a message. Tune in to hear the Master’s voice through your everyday occurrences.

Meditate.

Take time out of your day to center yourself and focus on what God may be trying to reveal to you. I sing, study, and play worship songs in the morning.

Connect with purpose-driven people.

It’s been stated that we become who we hang around. Be observant of who you are partnering with.

Trust that He has you.

Your situation is not too dynamic that it disqualifies you from God’s arc of safety. Fall into the Master’s loving arms.

He won’t take you into it until He’s prepared you for it.

Stop trying to rush the process. If you truly consider, you’re most likely not ready for the “next big thing” just yet. Use this time to recuperate and to rest in the promises of God.

Today’s feature song!

When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace. I am yours and you are mine.

God Is L o v e.

On this week’s call, we discussed the importance of operating in God’s love. Because Christ sacrificed His life for our redemption, we can find ways in our daily lives to become more sacrificial.

As we embark on this journey together, take a look at some of our focus points and footage from this year’s Promise Ceremony and Conference!

Bear each other’s burdens. 

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. Helen Keller

My friend Renee inspired me so much throughout the process of the Promise Ceremony & Conference! She prayed for me, fasted with me, and encouraged me throughout it all! That’s real love.

Renee and I sharing a few laughs as she prepared her poem. Check out her ministry, Sisterhood of God!

Do not be afraid to tell God your needs.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Those moments when I made my petitions known to God, He supplied! There were even detailed requests i.e. videographer for my event, promise ring, new job, etc. Even if what you are asking for seems to be out of this world, believe in faith, seek God, and He will provide an answer.

Rings for the girlies!
Rachel and Deja delight in fun times! I’m grateful for their support of the vision. Justin supported tremendously as well!

Sometimes what we think we need is not what we really need at all.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

I thought that I needed a lot of supplies and fancy stuff to make the #PromiseCC event a hit! Boy, was I wrong. With those who blessed me, God exceeded my expectations.

At this point, I basked in God’s faithfulness amazed at how my friends operated as a team.
withLove! Check out their website! Withlovemusic.org

Be intentional. When it comes to communicating with God we must be intentional about the time we spend with Him. For some of us, the best time to speak to Him may be in the wee hours of the morning. Others, midday and finally some in the evening. But regardless of the time of day, let us choose to be open to God about everything in our lives. After all, He has come that we may have life and that more abundantly.

Ada indulges in God’s presence.
Bowing before the King! I continue on this journey of purity with my Saviour.

                     09/19 – God is love.

Photos courtesy of Symone Wharton of IofTiger Fotography.

Closeness of God

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Genesis 1:1

How close is God truly in our lives?

This week we are focusing on the closeness of God. How He in fact is much closer than we think.

One of the areas that many of us have struggled with is transparency. We don’t reveal too much because we’ve been afraid that people will get too close. Well God wants us to bare it all! He delights in actually delights in hearing from His children.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Something that we learn is that he thinks toward us. God actually thinks great thoughts about us because He believes in us! The next time doubt, fear, and worry try to creep up cast those thoughts down! They are from the enemy and we know he is the father of lies.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Jeremiah 29:11


What is in your imagination becomes your reality. – Sharon Nesbitt



When God breathed the breathe of life into us, we became living souls. Our very breathe is evidence of God’s closeness to us. He wants to feel our heartbeat. – Check out Genesis 2:7Genesis 1:24-27

Communication with our King should be on a daily basis. Whether it’s greeting God early in the morning or having a moment of release in your lunch break, God’s line is never blocked.

Try not to use this powerful resource only during emergency situations. Prayer gives us insight.

09/05 – Closeness of God

Here are some points we can take away from today’s lesson.

  • We have to be transparent with God in order to keep our hearts pure.
  • God is a personable God. He seeks relationship with us.
  • Regardless of how many times we connect with him, we can always gain a new revelation.
  • Christ is the living water. When we draw from Him we receive the perfect amount of refreshing to carry us through.
  • We are not restricted from His resources. God’s connection is unlimited.
  • We don’t have to have it all together but all things are working together for our good.

Hope to see you at the Promise Ceremony & Conference! For information, check out my social media! Click here for prayer.

Great Expectations

In the midst of transition?

We tend to question God. Why isn’t this working out? Where am I going? Do you even care? Because of the unfamiliarity of transitional periods, we wonder if God is really taking care of us as He’s promised. But in those moments we must not doubt. Do not delay in your faith! To a look at how Abram responded when God told him to leave Egypt:

So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again. Genesis 13:1-4

Can you imagine waking up one morning to hear God tell you to pick up all that you have and go? That is what happened in Abram’s case. He left his father’s house and went in pursuit of God’s destination.

Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.) Genesis 13:5-7

Lot and Abram were very wealthy relatives. When God called them out of Egypt they had accumulated much wealth so traveling together was not easy.

Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left. Genesis 13:8,9

Sometimes, God distances you from familiar places and spaces so that he can show you the magnitude of His greatness in your life. If you are uncomfortable where you are right now, God may be preparing you to launch into something greater. Follow at His command and watch Him move on your behalf.

After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.  I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you Genesis 13:14-17

08/29 – Great Expectation

The Lord made a promise that exceeded Abraham’s expectations! Imagine what would’ve happened if Abraham did not move in faith.

Here are some points from tonight’s call.

  • God wants to multiply everything concerning us.
  • Our faith will determine our level of destination.
  • God is still faithful even in the midst of adversity.
  • Find the positive light within your circumstance.
  • Doubt clouds our vision to see what God has placed around or in front of us.
  • Your latter will be greater than your past.

Hold on my brother. Hold on my sister. God loves you and is bringing you into a wealthy place!

Click here for prayer requests.

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