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From Here to Eternity

How Today in the Word emboldens one army officer stationed abroad to follow Christ and share his faith with other soldiers

By Eric Romero  /  May 23, 2024

Army officer Michael Jones reads Today in the Word's daily devotional while stationed abroad

Today in the Word is so beneficial for me; I read it daily. And I do mean every day—without exception. I’m around a lot of lost people. Sometimes it’s kind of like being on the mission field wherever I go. But I’m willing to let God use me wherever I am.”

No, Michael Jones is not a missionary sharing the gospel in a remote, faraway jungle. He’s a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer in the military justice branch of the US Army. Currently stationed in the Middle East, he has served in the army for 18 years with deployments spanning the globe. His previous assignments include Italy, Germany, Korea, Kosovo, Jordan, and Kuwait.

Apt for Bible study

But no matter where the military sends him, Michael is diligent about maintaining a strong faith anchored in the Word of God. And the Today in the Word app, the mobile version of Moody’s popular daily devotional, is his number one resource for doing just that.

In his mid-fifties, Michael has incorporated the app into his daily routine, pulling up the devotional, Scripture verse, and related commentary during the morning hours around breakfast time. “I find the content on the app is Christ-centered and Bible-based,” he says.

But perhaps what Michael appreciates most about the app is that it engages with Scripture in a way he’s familiar with. “While I’m reading a passage, I ask myself two questions about it: Why did God inspire this to be written, and why did God preserve this for me today? Those two questions help me understand the meaning to the original audience and the application for my life,” he says. “The Today in the Word app uses a similar approach.”

At times Michael has found the app’s content to be so absorbing and compelling that he’s gone the extra mile to show his appreciation for it. “Some of the material is so helpful to my spiritual life that I have tracked down the author to thank him,” he says.

Soldiering for Christ

In addition to Bible study and his own spiritual enrichment, Michael uses the Today in the Word app to connect with believers and minister to nonbelievers.

“I will talk with anyone about their spiritual life that’s interested in doing so,” he says. “I like to discuss the principles in the devotional with other spiritually minded soldiers and how they translate into the way we live our lives.”

But out of all the soldiers, coworkers, and civilians Michael meets during his tours, he contends that the vast majority are spiritually lost. A large portion of these folks he refers to as “nones” (plural of “none”), a term that signifies they have no religious affiliation. Some were once even active in a church but have become disenchanted or disinterested.

When sharing his faith, Michael likes to grab the person’s attention with this pointed question: “If you were to die today, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?” He asks that question because he learned from a study that 10 percent of people think about spiritual matters at least once a day but don’t have someone with whom to discuss these issues.

“I want to be that guy,” Michael says. “There are lots of lost people where I work, so I’m sure that’s why I’m here.”

‘The resource I needed’

Michael grew up in a Christian home, where he lived with his grandmother and other extended family. “My grandmother was a godly and spiritual woman and was very influential on me.” During his high school years, Michael was labeled as the “very committed Christian guy.”

But while serving on tours and living away from his home and Christian community for long periods of time, Michael grew homesick. He started looking for something that would help him glean more from his Scripture study and times with God.

“I was spiritually starving but confident that someone out there would surely have put together something for a person like me—away from their spiritual norms but still desiring to continue with their growth in the Lord,” he says. “As it turns out, the Today in the Word app was the wonderful resource I needed.”

Advancing forward

When asked how fellow Today in the Word readers can pray for him and others serving in the military, Michael responds, “Please pray for opportunities for me to share the Lord with the lost. I always keep my eye open for those situations to develop.”

Michael says the Today in the Word app is a vital part of his life, and he makes it a point to tell everybody about it. “I’ve recommended the app to many people, who have also found it beneficial,” he says.

But as Michael strives to be a force for the gospel in a truly international arena, he has this request. “If you could figure out a way to market your app to soldiers, that would be great. I know I’m not the only guy who was struggling spiritually while on deployment.”