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!

Happy New Year! A 2018 Recap

Happy New Year!!

We’ve arrived in 2019. 2018 had been full of surprises, blessings, new opportunities. good and unexpected but it’s certainly been a rewarding journey.

We’ve been interviewed and have interviewed other visionaries. We hosted a series and several events focusing on youth enpowerment, mental health awareness, creative arts, and purity. It seems like just yesterday I was typing up my first blog post and here we are. 2018 has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life and Life to Your Soul journey. I pray you all utilize all the blessings that this year has available to you!

Take a look at this recap through pictures. (Click them to expand.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Praying that you and your family are enjoying this holiday season. Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! What a glorious day it must have been when Jesus entered the world. Angels burst into singing, wise men travel from afar to bring gifts to the baby King, and Joseph & Mary marvel at the wonderful signs.

I’m grateful to spend time with my family, receive gifts, watch my nephews open theirs, be kind to others, and sing songs. Embrace the beautiful spirit of Christmas. Share the story. It can include these but it’s much more than just presents under a tree.

A Time to Pray – Join Us!

Hey y’all! Starting on Thanksgiving day, we will be hosting a prayer call series. I believe it is important to come together and share how thankful we are for all that God has done. We’re blessed! We seen this organization spring forward in so many phenomenal ways. Through outreach events, interviews, positive feedback, and much more!

Please join us on Thursday, November 22nd as we interecede on the behalf of our family, friends, coworkers, children, and country. Feel free to submit your prayer request here or share if you’d like on Thanksgiving day at 5am EST. We can’t wait for you to join in! Invite a friend.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 NASB

It’s a Great Day!

Just like any other day, today is a great day.

I woke up the other morning feeling blessed. Thankful for the cool breeze and 70 degree weather. It was another beautiful day. With warm colored leaves all around. This was the day they called Halloween.

I grew up celebrating Halloween with my family. Mom dressed me up as a black cat one year using a pair of black tights for my cat ears! We’d go around the neighborhood, all 5 of us plus cousins and an Aunt, like the Brady Bunch knocking on doors. I don’t think I cared too much about it, I just knew that I liked the free candy!

As I got older and discovered the origin of Halloween, things started to change. I realized that it was a pagan holiday and the costume wearing originated from the concept of people attempting to ward of ghosts. On Halloween, it was believed that the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead became blurred.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

I realized that although most festivities are done in fun, I must uphold a standard.

We must pray and ask God for guidance. After all, we are made in His likeness and image. We must choose to be the light no matter what day, hour, or age.

Royalty is my identity. Servanthood is my assignment. Intimacy with God is my life source.

Bill Johnson

As we all embrace this fall season, I commission you friends to find ways to show gratitude.

Photo courtesy of Aquila Evans Photography

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Meditate.
  • Spend initial time with family, friends, and those God has placed in your circle.
  • Start reading a devotional.
  • Laugh. Don’t be so serious!
  • Thank God for something new every morning. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 KJV
  • Appreciate nature. All around us are beautiful things to admire.
  • Get a planner and plan out your day. Don’t be afraid of making changes or playing it by ear sometimes.

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Freedom.

So ever since the great news and success of the Promise Ceremony, I’ve felt like I’ve been rushing.

Rushing to stay busy and keep the momentum of everything going. But my body, on the other hand, has been like “Nah, Shantel. You need to slow down and rest.”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

Being newly engaged, there’s a lot that goes into it but I’m grateful for God’s Word and a partner who equally understands the importance of balance. My body has been through the ringer and I’ve felt the effects of all the commotion.

To give you a recap:

  • I hosted and directed the Promise Ceremony on 09/15.
  • Lead on the worship team at church and taught children’s church (voluntarily) on 09/16. Attended a workshop on kingdom wealth that evening.
  • Taught children throughout the week. (I’m a teacher.)
  • Went to my grandmother’s viewing on 09/21.
  • Attended and sang with family at my grandmother’s funeral on 09/22.
  • Had rehearsal the following day after service with my group.
  • The list goes on…

It’s safe to say that September has been jampacked and that’s not including the beginning of the month. But I’ve sensed God’s peace and have been reminded to trust Him throughout every season.

If God told the children of Israel to rest from their toil while in the wilderness and even rested Himself on the 7th day, who am I to try to be the Energizer bunny? There is an importance in resting and we can miss out on precious moments if we don’t choose to be still.

I took a walk yesterday with my love and we rested in that moment. Here are some pics of me sitting on a tree!

It’s okay to not have everything under control, but trust the One who does. He sees and He knows what’s best!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

If you would like more insight on resting, take a look at this awesome article.

Planted Not Buried

Hello loves! I hope you all have been doing wonderfully! I’ve been m.i.a but all for a good reason. To better myself as a writer, a host, a teacher, and an individual overall. As much as I’d love to get on here and post more frequently, I believe God has given me the grace to prepare for the wonderful things coming up!

Because I’ve been missing for a month, I want to give you a recap of what’s been going on.

  • I’ve been serving on the worship team and children’s church at my local church.
  • Leading in song and outreach with my group Holy Host Ministries.
  • Preparing for this year’s Promise Ceremony Conference. (Check out a recap from last year’s.)
  • Getting ready for the new school year. (I’m an art teacher.)

Planted Not Buried

Sometimes, there are things that occur in our lives that leaves us wondering why. Why we are left in this predicament. Why don’t we see the end result? Or do we have the skills or tools to endure? And how long will this season be?

I want to encourage you to maintain your hope. Don’t throw in the towel. There’s a reason why God has you where you are.

I remember struggling with finding out where my next place of employment would be last year. Or where my life time partner was (love story soon to come 😊). Or how I’d catch the bus to my last job with no money. But God challenged me to trust Him in those times and answered in His timing.

I want to encourage you not to give up. Don’t stop serving. Don’t stop working at what God has given you. Be consistent and watch God provide the next step. There are things that we need to learn in our current season that will prepare us for our next.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:3 NKJV

Take a listen to this message by Michael Todd. It got me all the way together! (Pardon my broken English!) Some of us are being planted and don’t realize it. Don’t allow the weight of what you’re going through to allow you to quit prematurely. You’re worth the wait!


#plantednotburied

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

Being Love – Renee Beltran

Welcome to the Being Love Series!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in inquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Our first guest is Renee Beltran! Renee is a speaker, mother, Mary Kay consultant, and the founder of Sisterhood of God Women’s Ministry!

Shantel: Hey Renee!

Renee: Hey girl!

S: Tell me, what is your definition of love?

R: Love is an action. I really love “love” movies. You know, the affection, the touching, and the romance. I used to think that that was what love is. Like If you don’t give me butterflies then I’m not in love with you! *laughs* But then as I grew in my relationship with Christ and really got to know who He was as a Father and a supporter it showed me that what I thought was love was actually lust.

S: Wow.

R: Love is “You’re this way. Those are your sins and this is your baggage. But, no matter what you carry, I’m choosing to make the decision to love you no matter what.”

S: *Laughs* You’re going in girl! When can you say is the first time you’ve experienced love?

R: *Exhales* It may sound weird but it’s actually the moment that I let go of this certain type of love. It was the moment when I prayed and fasted for a whole month and asked God if my son’s father was the man He had for me. Was this man ever gonna change? Was he gonna stop abusing me? Was he gonna come to Christ? And if so, were we gonna be together? And it was actually the first time I heard God speak to me.

S: Wow!

R: He told me “I don’t have this man for you. You can stay with him if you want but I won’t bless you in it.” So I made the decision and said “God, I make the decision to love you more than to love this man.” I got up, packed my things, and left. But when I left it was really hard for me because I Ieft with pretty much nothing. Everything was in his name. So I left with only my clothes.

R: Every night I cried because I really wanted my family but in those moments I really felt loved most. Just the fact that God spoke to me, and showed me what He had for me, and in the fact that I made the decision to get up and leave, He opened so many doors.

S: Girl, this is awesome! How do you choose to be love on a daily basis?

R: As I clean people’s homes for my cleaning business, I worship God. I put my headphones in and worship the entire time!

S: What would you say to someone who’s struggling with being love?

R: It all starts with loving yourself and learning who God is because He is love. Once you learn who God is, and what love actually is versus lust, you come to learn that you are made in God’s image. We confuse the two so many times thinking “Oh, this guy doesn’t really like me or I’m not getting this type of attention so I’m not loved.” For me that’s how it was. I grew up without a father so I didn’t have a male role model in my life, so if I didn’t get attention I thought “Well, maybe I’m just not loved.” We deserve so much higher, so much better than that. We have to learn what our best qualities are and not focus on the bad ones.


Be sure to follow Renee on Instagram, Facebook, and subscribe to her website www.reneebeltran.com!

To find out more about the Being Love Series click here! Thanks for reading! ❤

About Last Night…

So on Friday evening, a missions organization in Baltimore, Ywam (Youth With A Mission) Baltimore, hosted a worship session. In this session, unlike anything else I’ve experienced, praises arose from locals and visitors from all over with a spontaneous flow. There was no agenda, no tedious schedule, and no program. Just pure, authentic worship from the heart of believers.

As we gathered, we greeted one another with smiling faces. The atmosphere was warm as the lights glistened above the platform. What I love about the location is it’s rustic nature. The building is old but has beautiful elements that have been enhanced by co-founders Devon and Kristin Potler.

The band featured was the Water and Fire band, a young boy group consisting of two guitar players and a drummer.

What I loved about the Water and Fire band is not only did they minister through music but also spoke encouraging words and scriptures over us as they continued throughout the set.

Our praises filled the air as we sang songs to the King of Kings. As we lifted our voices with the band, each person worshipped in a different way. The spirit of freedom was there.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

The whole night was bountiful as we embraced conversations, laughs, and hugs with each other. But one thing that really stuck out to me was the hour we sang songs from heaven.

During the end of the set, the worship leader concluded that although we get caught up in the busyness of life sometimes we must not forget to be still in God’s presence. The music stopped and voices echoed across the room with small pockets, of adoration.

I caught myself envisioning being with Jesus and casting down fear in an ocean before us. Jesus shared that He was with me; that there was no need to be afraid. The worship then began to arise with “oo’s”, heavenly language, and tunes never sung before. It was sensational.

We then retreated in singing songs more recognizable like “Good, Good Father” and “How Great Is Our God”. Take a look at more footage from this holy encounter. I’m truly grateful for the experience.


Stay in the know with Ywam Baltimore! Such an impactful movement with people whose hearts are on fire for God!

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