Friday, June 10, 2016

Night Light for Couples - The Girl with the Apple

by Herman and Roma Rosenblat

It is bitter cold on this dark, winter day in 1944. But it is no different than any other day in the Nazi concentration camp. Back and forth I pace, trying to keep my emaciated body warm. I am just a boy, and hungry. I have been hungry for longer than I want to remember. Edible food seems like a dream. Each day, as more of us disappear, the happy past seems also like a dream, and I sink deeper into despair.

Suddenly, I see something moving in the field beyond the camp’s two barbed wire fences. Families are working in the field; near the outer fence is a young girl. With an eye out for the guards, I hurry to the inside fence.

The girl stops working and looks at me with sad eyes—eyes that seem to say she understands. I ask, across twenty feet and two fences, if she has something to eat. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a red apple. A beautiful, shiny red apple. She looks to the left and to the right and then with a smile of triumph, throws the apple over the fences. I pick it up, holding it in trembling, frozen fingers, then run away as fast as I can. If the guards see us, we will both be shot.

The next day, I cannot help myself—I am drawn at the same time to that spot near the fences. Am I crazy for hoping she will come again? Of course. But in here, I cling to any tiny scrap of hope.

She comes. And again, she brings an apple, flinging it over the fences with that same sweet smile. This time I catch it and hold it up for her to see. Her eyes twinkle. And for the first time in so long, I feel my heart move with emotion.

For seven months we meet like this. Sometimes we exchange a few words. Sometimes, just an apple. But she is feeding more than my belly, this angel from heaven. She is feeding my soul. And somehow, I know I am feeding hers as well.

One day I hear frightening news: We are being shipped to another camp. The next day when I greet her, my heart is breaking. I can barely speak. “Do not bring me an apple tomorrow,” I say. “I am being sent to another camp. We will never see each other again.” Turning before I lose all control, I run away. I cannot bear to look back. If I did, I know she would see tears streaming down my face.

Months pass, and the nightmare continues. Only the memory of this girl sustains me. And then one day, just like that, the nightmare is over. The war has ended. Those of us still alive are freed. I have lost everything precious to me, including my family. But I still have the memory of this girl, a memory I carry in my heart as I move to America to start a new life.

The years go by. It is 1957. I live in New York City. A friend convinces me to go on a blind date with a lady friend of his. Reluctantly, I agree. But she is nice, this woman named Roma. And like me, she is an immigrant, so we have at least that in common.

“Where were you during the war?” Roma asks me gently, in that delicate way immigrants ask one another such questions.

“I was in a concentration camp in Germany,” I reply. Roma gets a faraway look in her eyes. “What is it?” I ask. “I am just thinking about something from my past, Herman,”

Roma explains in a voice suddenly very soft. “You see, when I was a young girl, I lived near a concentration camp. There was a boy there, a prisoner, and for a long while, I used to visit him every day. I remember I used to bring him apples. I would throw the apple over the fence, and he would be so happy.”

Roma sighs heavily and continues. “It is hard to describe how we felt about each other—after all, we were so young, and we only exchanged a few words when we could—but I can tell you, there was much love there. I assume he was killed like so many others. But I cannot bear to think that, and so I try to remember him as he was for those months we were given together.”

With my heart pounding so hard I think it will explode, I look directly at Roma and ask, “And did that boy say to you one day, ‘Do not bring me an apple tomorrow. I am being sent to another camp’?” “Why, yes,” Roma responds, her voice trembling. “But Herman, how on earth could you possibly know that?” I take her hands in mine and answer, “Because I was that young boy, Roma.” For many moments, there is only silence. We cannot take our eyes from each other as we recognize the soul behind the eyes, the dear friend we once loved so much, whom we have never stopped loving.

Finally, I speak: “Roma, I was separated from you once, and I don’t ever want to be separated from you again. Now I am free, and I want to be together with you forever. Dear, will you marry me?”

I see that same twinkle in her eye I used to see as Roma says, “Yes, I will marry you.” We embrace—the embrace we longed to share for so many months, but barbed wire came between us. Now, nothing ever will again.

Looking ahead…

This fictional story offers a powerful glimpse of hope in the midst of terror.

Can any of us live without hope? I think not. Without hope, we have no reason to get out of bed in the morning… no motivation to complete our daily tasks at work, home, church… no desire to take on the sometimes dizzying array of problems in our world. A life without hope is a life without meaning.

Yet as Christians, we always have hope. In Jesus Christ, we have a holy protector, friend, confidante, and guide. We have a reserved seat in heaven that promises unimaginable joy. This is what gives us the endurance, patience, and motivation to bring glory to our Creator during this imperfect existence. In the days ahead, we’ll talk more about how hope can strengthen our marriage.

John tells us, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). Can you imagine a greater source of hope?

- James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
“The Girl with the Apple” by Herman and Roma Rosenblat. © 1998. Used by permission of the authors.

Are You a Desperate Housewife?

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. — Psalm 142:6 

Watch this week's video by clicking on the image below.

I believe that when a man walks down the aisle and says “I do,” his every hope and intention is that his marriage will be for life. He sincerely desires to understand and take care of the beloved bride he has chosen. He romanced her and worked hard to express his love so she would want to spend the rest of her life with him. He was determined to be her hero and lovingly lead her safely through life. The challenge for each man begins after the “I dos,” because generally no one has taught him how to accomplish his God-appointed position in a woman’s life.

Eventually, a man’s attempts at love, leadership, and even heroism may miss their mark, and his beloved bride gradually withdraws emotionally from the very one she hoped would give her happily ever after. Sadly, she often closes up her spirit in order to protect her heart from any more hurt.

The man she longs for ends up feeling frustrated and angry at himself, and he may give up trying. Their love story, which once fostered hopes of intimacy, happiness, and growing old together, withers into isolation, pain, and despair—sometimes even divorce. That was certainly what I saw growing up.

I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people, so as part of several blended families, it was hard for me to understand what a healthy family is supposed to be. Needless to say, when I was growing up all I understood about marriage was “unhappily ever after.” So my heart’s desire was to find a godly man to love me forever and then to live with him in a lovely home with a white picket fence. To be honest, that white picket fence was almost as important as the man because somehow the fence represented the foundation of a stable family that I never had as a child—and protection from heartbreak.

I invite you to join me for a few moments by clicking the video link I am praying that God will give you a new perspective about living beyond the white picket fence.

God's Letter to You

My beloved child,

I want to birth a new thing in your heart and bring forth the perfect peace and plan I have for you. I am asking you as your heavenly Father to look to the future, and not to the past, to find the path I have prepared for you.

I know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth letting go of what once was to receive all I have for you. Your past has prepared you for your purpose, and nothing and no one can stop My plans for your life. Don’t allow disappointment to direct your path. Now is the time to take My hand and walk out the rest of your days on earth with Me, your Heavenly Daddy. 

Your God of Creation

Treasure of Truth

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 

For more about Sheri Rose's ministry, visit

Men of the Bible - Solomon

His name means: "Peaceable" 

His work: The son of King David and Bathsheba, Solomon was the third king of Israel.
His character: Known until this day as the wisest man who ever lived.
His sorrow: Although he was an extremely intelligent man, later in his life he became disobedient to God and sacrificed everything on the altar of sexual excess. His inability to lead his own children led to the kingdom's division and ultimate fall.
His triumph: Solomon built the kingdom of Israel to its greatest level in material wealth and land.
Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 2-5

A Look at the Man

It's one of the most incredible moments in all of Scripture. The Lord of Israel, the Creator of the universe, makes an offer to a mortal man—Solomon, the son of David and the newly anointed king of Israel. Like the archetypal genie in the bottle, God asks Solomon to make a wish. But Solomon's historic opportunity becomes his greatest tragedy.

This may be the saddest story in the Bible.

It's the account of a man who literally had everything. The only thing more difficult to comprehend than his great mind, his enormous wealth, and his enormous power were the prospects of what he could have done with these things. Solomon had the incredible capability to change his world.

But in spite of doing many good things during his lifetime, he actually squandered this potential. Of course he built a name for himself. Go ahead and ask anyone to finish this sentence: "That guy over there has the wisdom of _________."

What happened to Solomon? The reason for his pathetic failure is actually quite clear. He broke this commandment: "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:4-5).

Solomon should have known better. In fact, he did know better. As his father, David, was dying, Solomon heard these words. "Observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go."

But somehow Solomon believed he could be the exception to the rule, the one man who could break God's law without suffering the consequences. But God was not going to ignore all the idols and altars he had set up to please his foreign wives, accustomed as they were to worshiping various idols. Because of his infidelity, the kingdom of Israel split apart after his death, with Judah and its capital, Jerusalem, in the south and Israel and its capital, Samaria, in the north.

It was too late for Solomon to discover that a man before God's throne is judged by what is in his heart. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2 KJV).

Instead of leaving a world-changing legacy, Solomon left us with a graphic lesson in eternal fruitlessness—with no excuses.

Reflect On: 1 Kings 8:56–61; 11:9–13
Praise God: For his constancy. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Offer Thanks: That God’s words are consistent with his character. 
Confess: Any wavering in your devotion to God. 
Ask God: To help you maintain a course that will daily bring you closer to him.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

His Princess Every Day - His Way

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

My Child,

You can always find ways to get what you want or to get your way. Just because something works, though, does not mean it’s right in my sight. What good could come from using someone or something to manipulate others, or even to try to move people with your own good intentions? Without Me and My righteousness, anything that seems to be working ultimately will not last. I know that many times doing the right thing in my sight seems useless. Remember, though, that there is something more important than results, and that is My righteousness in you. What you do My way will ultimately build a foundation of integrity, which will be rewarded with My favor and blessing on your life. It is what you do when no one but Me sees that truly reflects your heart and commitment to Me. Now let’s make whatever is wrong right together.

Your King who knows what works

There is a way that seems right to man,
But in the end it leads to destruction. - Proverbs 16:25

Treasure of Truth

Just because it works does not make it right.

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Jesus is our best example of dependence on the written Word of God. He quoted scripture repeatedly. When Satan tempted Him in the wilderness, for example, He quoted scripture in answer to each of Satan’s demands (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus based His teaching on the Old Testament Scriptures and referred to them frequently for historical examples. It can be said that Jesus authenticated almost every book in the Old Testament by quoting from it at least once as divine authority!

It is especially interesting to note how Jesus used the scriptures after His death and resurrection. While walking with some followers on the road to Emmaus, He began “with Moses and all the Prophets” explaining “…to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27).

The central place scripture held for the early church is evident throughout the book of Acts. Scripture was used to explain the events of Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21), to identify Jesus as the Messiah (2:25-28), to determine their reaction to persecution (4:23-26), to state the church’s position in the face of persecution (7:1-53), to preach Christ (8:29-35), and to determine how to accept Gentile believers (15:13-21).

There are literally hundreds of examples of New Testament Christians and the writers of the epistles using the Old Testament Scriptures to prove their positions. In fact, it is so basic to sound biblical teaching that it is still common in evangelical circles today. The Bible is our true source of divine knowledge.

Outside the city of Seoul, Korea stands the memorial to the martyrs of the Korean church. Interestingly, the first picture in the gallery is of a Welshman, R. J. Thomas. We learned about him earlier as he gave his life taking the Bible into northern Korea in 1866. The nephew of a scholar became a Christian by reading a gospel portion plastered on the compound wall of the man who killed Thomas. The young man reportedly helped a Scottish missionary, John Ross, make the first translation of the New Testament into Korean in Shenyang, China a mere twenty-five years later. This led to the first group of believers in the country of Korea even before foreign missionaries arrived. The Word of God is powerful!

RESPONSE: I will treasure God’s powerful and living Word, today.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the power of Your Word! May it impact North Korea anew in my generation.

Girlfriends in God - Grudge, Be Gone

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our Friday Friends. So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our Friday Friend, Arlene Pellicane.

Today’s Truth

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, NIV).

Friend to Friend

When my husband James and I were newlyweds, our first fight revolved around teriyaki chicken and broccoli. I was not a good cook. When James got home and asked if he could invite the new neighbor over, I said definitely not. I didn’t have enough food and was nervous enough about the meal without a dinner guest.

Imagine my surprise, irritation, and anger when my new husband invited the neighbor over after I had said no. When the doorbell rang, all angst was forgotten. I was a nice host. But when our guest left, I fussed and fumed, slamming cabinets for dramatic effect. James tackled me like Tigger. Putting his face right up to mine, he smiled and said, “I’m sorry!"

What would you have done? How do you usually respond when a friend or family member does you wrong?

James’ apology was a bit on the jovial side so I waited to clarify that he really was sorry and that he would not bring another dinner guest again without my okay. He gave a sincere apology, which left me with a choice. I could nurse the grudge a little longer or I could say “Grudge, be gone."

It’s easy to allow our minds to rehearse the wrongs done to us. Your boss passed you up for that promotion again. Your sister said something hurtful to you. Lately your co-workers have been gossiping about you. Yet Scripture tells us to think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). When we hold grudges, we do the opposite. We think on what is wrong and painful. We can boast to others about how hard we have it and receive a sense of importance because of our emotional pain.

That night, I decided to forgive James for his error in judgment and move on. I thought of the church marquee that read, “No matter how much you nurse a grudge, it won’t get better.” Meditating on wrongs done in the past will not expedite healing. It will prevent it. If you need help because you tend to keep a record of wrongs, try dwelling on how love behaves instead: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV).

Love says “Grudge, be gone.”

Let’s Pray

Lord, I want to dwell on the good, not the bad. Transform my mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. May I experience unity with my friends and family members. Help me be a peacemaker in my home, workplace, church, school and everywhere I go.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Are you holding a grudge against anyone today? If so, take a piece of paper and write out Ephesians 4:32, inserting the person’s name: “I will be kind and compassionate to _______, forgiving him or her, just as in Christ God forgave me.” Read this whenever you are tempted to nurse that grudge.

More from the Girlfriends

You’ll be happy to hear that in 17 years of marriage, Arlene’s husband has never brought home a surprise dinner guest! Arlene Pellicane is the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. Maybe you’re struggling with anger and frustration as a parent. 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom will help you stress less and enjoy your kids more.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Verse of the Day - June 10, 2016

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Read all of Colossians 3