VIDEO Escaping a Fiery, Gasoline Fueled Death Trap


Rod Thomas – 700 Club Producer –Michiael Cross had been a gas delivery truck driver for eight years and had a spotless record. When delivering fuel, he was always careful to do his safety routine. “I did a tire check and I usually do a pretty thorough one, especially in the summertime,” Michiael remembers.

It was July 4th, so his fiancée Janet rode with him. The couple had met at work and had moved in together. “She didn’t have any obligations in the office, and we just wanted to spend the day together.”

As they traveled through the hills of northern California, two tires blew, throwing the rig into the shoulder. “There was an embankment there. The shoulder on the other side of the road dropped down 20, 25 feet and we actually rolled down that, facing the direction that we traveled.”

The tank cracked open throwing gasoline everywhere. Finally the truck landed on its passenger side. “I immediately told Janet, ‘We have to get out of here and we have to get out of here now!’”

The wreck had ignited the dry grass, and the flames were racing toward the truck. “I had my thumper I thump tires with, and I smacked the windows with that and got them broke pretty good and then I kicked them out. I actually climbed out above her. She lagged behind a little bit and I said, ‘We gotta go. We gotta go.’” They got out of the truck’s cab but then the tanker exploded. Michiael and Janet were caught on fire and were in a fight for their lives. Both air and hope were fading fast.

Amazingly, help was just minutes away. A fire truck had been traveling behind them. A forestry helicopter that just happened to be in the area saw the wreck. They sprang into action. Firemen could not go into the raging fire to save them, so Michiael and Janet had to run through the flames to safety.

Unfortunately, they got separated “I lost track of where Janet was. The fireman told me they could hear us yelling and calling for each other in the fire,” Michiael remembers. “Somehow I ran out of the fire before she did, and all I could think of is ‘Where is Janet?’” When Janet emerged from the fire she was severely burned. Once the couple was safe, EMTs poured saline water on their burns.

About a mile away, a family out enjoying a holiday picnic saw the smoke in the distance. “It was quite a lot of smoke and it was close to the lake where we were headed and I just grabbed my husband-at-the-time’s hand and said, ‘Oh, maybe we should pray for those people,’” Christa Cole remembers.

Michiael and Janet were airlifted to the UC Davis Burn Center in Sacramento. They suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns. Janet suffered burns on over 60% of her body; Michiael 50%.

R.N. Debra Jones was working in the burn center that day. “The part I remember is after they arrived they both had extremely serious injuries.”

Dr. David Greenhalgh treated them at the hospital. “They both needed extensive skin grafts to cover the burned areas. Janet actually had to have some amputations of fingers because they weren’t alive after awhile.”

When Christa and her family returned home, she got a call from her sister. “She said, ‘Mom and Mike have been in a terrible accident. They’ve been burned.’ She started going into detail about it and basically telling us to come down and say goodbye; that they probably weren’t going to make it. My greatest fear was not being able to say goodbye if that were true, and for my kids not to know their grandparents.”

But, when Christa learned the details of the accident, she realized the shocking truth about who they prayed for. “When I found out it was at the lake, just at the end, ahead of us, that’s when I put two and two together and remembered, ‘Oh my gosh, that was them.’”

Hospital staff worked around the clock to save their lives. Michiael stayed in a coma for 25 days. When he woke up, he couldn’t wait to see Janet. “When I got to the point where I can walk some distance, I would walk by her room and I would try to sneak peeks to see her because obviously I missed her,” Michiael recalls.

Janet was asleep for two months, before she woke up to the horrifying truth. “I knew at that point my face had been burned, but I didn’t want to see it,” Janet said.  “I didn’t want to look; and when I finally said I was ready, and I looked in the mirror, I realized, ‘No, I’m not ready. This is shocking.’”

Even as they came to grips that their lives would never be the same, the love between them remained strong. They married on the hospital grounds, just prior to Janet’s release. “We decided we didn’t want to go home and live together. If we were going to live together, we were going to be man and wife,” Janet recollects.

“I spent the wedding night, the first night, beside her. It was the first time I got to spend a night even in the same room with her in four months. So just, I mean, it doesn’t sound like much of a honeymoon, but to be in the same room was plenty,” Michiael said.

After their release, Janet endured numerous plastic surgeries “We had a lot of physical therapy. And because of our skin grafting, your skin would tend to contract, and they would have to stretch it.”

Then depression set in. They could not stay outside for long, especially in warmer weather, and they lived in isolation. Michiael recalls those tough times. “Now, I had nothing to strive for and despair, really, really bad despair set in. And I started drinking a lot (and doing) some drugs; marijuana, stuff like that. And then that only goes so far and Janet and I – it was breaking us.”

So they made a decision … To live again. “We’ve got to get out of this house and we’ve got to find a reason (to live). We’ve got to do something. In 2007, we set out on a journey to go across the United States,” Michiael said.

They visited Janet’s daughter in Montana, who took them to a prayer meeting at her church. Michiael describes the feelings. “Just to walk into the building was like walking in the atmosphere of heaven. I remember literally taking a breath and realizing, ‘Oh my God, You’re here. You’re here.’ I have felt this before. When I was a teenager and I received the Holy Spirit, I remember that feeling of God being in me; and I found Him again,”

“I remember glancing up at him and thinking it was the most normal thing in the world. This is normal, even though we’d never done that before. This is where we’re supposed to be,” Janet remembers.

When they returned to California, they joined a local church and began learning more about God. “I gave myself. I gave everything, everything about me. I didn’t worry about me having a purpose or who I was. I turned my life over to Him 100%,” Michiael said.

“We just continued to learn more and more about God, what He’s really like. My Father does love me, and I don’t know why, but He does. He said He does,” Janet added.

It took determination not only to live, but also to live well. Today, Michiael and Janet are leading happy, productive lives. “I never knew God could be so great. I grew up in a Christian home and I raised my girls in a Christian home, but I never really knew God and His heart until recently,” Janet said.

Michiael adds “His love’s so true that I may not know 10 minutes from now if I’ll be breathing or not, but I know He’ll be loving me, period.”


Though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4


Bart Millard penned a megahit in 2001 when he wrote, “I Can Only Imagine.” The song pictures how amazing it will be to be in Christ’s presence. Millard’s lyrics offered comfort to our family that next year when our seventeen-year-old daughter, Melissa, died in a car accident and we imagined what it was like for her to be in God’s presence.

But imagine spoke to me in a different way in the days following Mell’s death. As fathers of Melissa’s friends approached me, full of concern and pain, they said, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”

Their expressions were helpful, showing that they were grappling with our loss in an empathetic way—finding it unimaginable.

David pinpointed the depth of great loss when he described walking through “the darkest valley” (Psalm 23:4). The death of a loved one certainly is that, and we sometimes have no idea how we’re going to navigate the darkness. We can’t imagine ever being able to come out on the other side.

But as God promised to be with us in our darkest valley now, He also provides great hope for the future by assuring us that beyond the valley we’ll be in His presence. For the believer, to be “away from the body” means being present with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8). That can help us navigate the unimaginable as we imagine our future reunion with Him and others.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What’s the best thing you can say to friends who’ve suffered the loss of someone they loved? How can you prepare for those times?

Thank You, God, for being with us even in the darkest valley as we imagine the glories of heaven.

For hope, read Life After Loss at

Danger of having a Hardening Heart

Hebrews 3:7-19

God speaks to all of us, but how we respond depends on the condition of our heart. Upon hearing the Lord’s voice, some believers are motivated to pursue a deeper and more obedient relationship with their Father. Others, however, resist or refuse Him because their heart has become less responsive.

A change in receptiveness may be difficult to recognize because it happens slowly and is often rationalized or excused. How do you respond when the Holy Spirit speaks to you through Scripture or some other means? Carefully consider the following characteristics of a developing callousness:

  • Insensitivity to what God says
  • Resistance to His authority
  • Disobedience to what the Lord is instructing you to do
  • Justification of sinful conduct
  • Rejection of reproof by others
  • Preoccupation with worldly things
  • Little interest in spiritual matters
  • Absence of private devotion (Bible reading and prayer)
  • Avoidance of gathering to worship with other believers


If you’ve discovered any of the above traits in your life, it’s not too late. Ask the Lord to mold your heart (Isa. 64:8; Jer. 24:7). Remember, He specializes in making all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and delights in our turning to Him.

A Lively Hope

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

This verse contains several enlightening words:

Blessed: The word in Greek means to be well spoken of, or praised. According to: This does not say that we are blessed according to the extent of His mercy, but rather that He was impelled by His “abundant mercy” to save us.

Begotten: A child is begotten of parents and is of the same nature as its parents. We are begotten into God’s family by the work of Christ. Again: There are two possible concepts that are attached to the term “born again”—born “the second time,” or born “from above.” In our text, the term used is literally born “the second time,” but the Father mentioned is God. We are indeed born “the second time,” and that “from above.”

Lively: The word is in the form of a verbal adjective, having all the descriptive power of an adjective and all the active power of a verb. A “lively” hope is more than a hope that is living; it is actively alive. Hope: We hope, not in the sense of desiring something to come to pass, but in the confident assurance of something that certainly shall come to pass. We may “lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19). We shall follow Christ in life everlasting.

Resurrection: It may seem strange to think we are born again “by the resurrection,” but this was the instrument God used to bring about His purpose. In a real sense, Christ was “born again” with a glorified body when He arose from the dead. Since He is “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18), many will follow, “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). JDM

Power God Does Recognizes

Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.

—Isaiah 30:1


The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify….

It is not, however, the frequency of the Spirit’s mention in the Bible or in other writings that matters most, but the importance attached to Him when He is mentioned. And there can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will….

The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.   GTM108, 110-111

O Lord, work powerfully, creatively: move in majesty. Send the divine afflatus to overshadow our intellect and personalities. Come in power, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


Exchanging One Sin for Another

Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

—Romans 12:1


The offering and the sacrifice and the sanctifying energies of the Holy Spirit are indeed sufficient to prepare the soul for communion with God. This the Bible declares and this ten thousand times ten thousand witnesses confirm.

The big danger is that we assume that we have been delivered from our sins when we have in reality only exchanged one kind of sin for another. This is the peril that lies in wait for everyone. It need not discourage us nor turn us back, but it should make us watchful.

We must, for instance, be careful that our repentance is not simply a change of location. Whereas we once sinned in the far country among the swineherds, we are now chumming with religious persons, considerably cleaner and much more respectable in appearance, to be sure, but no nearer to true heart purity than we were before. BAM081-082

In the deeper experience of a sanctified heart, there must be another conviction, not of sin, but of sinfulness, before the soul is ready to receive the Holy Spirit and the abiding presence of the Lord. CTBC, Vol. 3/049


The Salt of the Earth

Matthew 5:13

The follower of Jesus is “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). The metaphor used would have occurred to Him while watching the fishermen using salt to preserve their fish.

Salt is essential to life. The action of salt seems obscure, but it saves from putrefaction. It has the silent gentleness of divine strength. The morals of a Christian keep alive a sense of duty and a consciousness of right.

Salt preserves, keeps fresh and saves from corruption. It has sanitary powers. Christians are the antiseptics of society. Salt counteracts the moral pollution of the world and gives health to the soul amid the foulness of the sin around.

In ancient times salt was associated with offerings. Covenants were made over a sacrificial meal and salt was a necessary element; hence the expression, “a covenant of salt” (Num. 18:19).

Salt was also a sacrament of friendship, a symbol of an enduring compact, the seal of the obligation to fidelity. In Leonardo da Vinci’s great painting of the Last Supper, Judas is picked out from all the others by having overturned the salt-cellar. The salt-cellar was a pledge of good faith. Overturned, it was an omen of coming treachery.

Our Lord used His picture of salt in relation to the Christian life. Nothing was more valuable than salt, but nothing more worthless if it had lost its flavor. It was fit only to be trampled down into the street. When once the Christian life has become tasteless, empty and futile, there is no way of making life worth living.

The new kingdom Christ inaugurated was to be radical and penetrating like “the salt of the earth.” The members of the kingdom are covenanted not only to arrest the decay of morals in the world, but to preserve the high standards of Christian living, to flavor life with radiant happiness and buoyant good taste.

Christian character works secretly, penetrating a man’s thought, influencing the atmosphere of life. Unseen and unapplauded, salt cleanses the elements around it. So the action of the follower of Christ is to disinfect the world, to bring those Christian antiseptics outlined in the Beatitudes to bear upon all around.

The Christian brings health to the life made foul by sin. We are “covenanted” to this sacrificial task. It is a “covenant of salt.”

George B. Smith, Meditations for the Ordinary Man