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"Death is the Gate to Life"

Part 5 "Blazing Bushes"

Planted along the roadside all the way up from San Bernardino to Big Bear Lake are (or at least were!) hundreds of Gorse Bushes.  They have huge and ugly thorns.  The whole year round the thorn has been hardening and sharpening.  

Lilias Trotter has painted these desert beauties and you will find a copy in her "Parables of the Cross."

Spring comes, BUT the thorn does not drop off, and it does not soften; there it is, as uncompromising as ever; but half-way up appear two brown furry balls, mere specks at first, that break at last -- straight out of last year's thorn -- into a blaze of fragrant golden glory!

Take the very hardest thing in your life -- THE place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom! This is a holy place where God speaks to us out of the circumstances into a blaze of glory, if we let Him.

"He loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
We receive the atonement, and go out into life not only forgiven, but clean!

"Christ has suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God!" I Peter 3:18

"Though I make my bed in hell, THOU art there!" Psa. 139:8

"If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life would lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23, 24.

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory!" I Cor. 2:7,8

"Death is the gateway of life."  Death is the only way out of any world in which we are!

"Without a true death, there can be no resurrection!"



  1. Maria Hanson on August 7, 2015 at 12:48 PM said:
    Dear Arlita, I recently watched the memorial service for Elisabeth Elliot at Wheaton College. Your memories of her warmed my heart so much that I had to see if you had a webpage. I was delighted when I found it. I've spent much of the morning reading your devotionals. They have blessed me and I wanted you to know. I was especially delighted to read about Big Bear Lake. I moved to Big Bear Lake when I was 8 years old and lived there till I was 16. I know those hairpin curves you speak about on Highway 18 (they always made me carsick) and the gorse bushes lining the road with their yellow blooms. I remember driving those roads in snow storms, clinging to the edge of the car, praying we would make it home safely. Your writing brought back so many memories for me. But I really wanted to thank you for sharing truth so graciously. I first heard it in your memorial to Elisabeth when you spoke of a conversation the two of you had while doing dishes. She said to you, "I need to know the character of my God so that I am not shaken" and you spoke to her grandchildren encouraging them to know the God they love, not just know about Him. Pure, lovely, gracious, truth. Your friendship of 50 years was so encouraging to me. I love how you remained close throughout many seasons of life. You must miss her terribly. I'm so sorry for your loss. I am a wife and mother now, living in Iowa, caring for my family, discipling women and speaking on occasion. I long to know my God more so I will not be shaken, to die to myself so that I may be resurrected (as your Mother said) and to be a Godly wife and mother to the family God has so graciously given me. I look forward to continuing to read your devotionals. Thank you again. Sincerely, Maria Hanson
  2. Cindy Kranz on November 7, 2015 at 3:09 AM said:
    The illustration of the article is powerful and right! How do we really die to the world we're trapped in? I hear EE say we have to surrender. But surrender doesn't produce death. I'm trying to surrender, but it crops up again. Dead things don't crop up! If we have to die to gain the resurrection, we need to know how to die. Thank you for considering my question.
  3. Arlita Winston on November 23, 2019 at 12:39 PM said:
    Thank you so much, Maria. You have blessed me as well with your response. These "parables" of truth grow deeper as we live them out, don't they!
  4. Arlita Winston on November 23, 2019 at 12:46 PM said:
    Thank you Cindy for your question. It reminds me of gardening. I can spend hours digging out invasive weeds, and end up exhausted but happy. They are GONE! But wait a week and I'm astonished to see them rear their ugly heads AGAIN! How thankful I am for the blood of Jesus that continues to cleanse us. There is a scripture that says "there is forgiveness in order that He might be feared." 70x7 a day He reminded us to forgive. If Christ told us to do this, how much more HE does this as we continue to stay close to Him. Just keep weeding your garden, and it will be glorious!
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