INTERSECT | WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Nov 14, 2018

In this week's Intersect, read about:


44 Dead in California Fires as the Camp Fire becomes the Deadliest in State History  

An additional 13 sets of human remains were discovered Monday in Northern California, bringing the death toll from the Camp Fire to 42, making it the deadliest wildfire in the state's history, the sheriff of Butte County said. The increased death toll comes as first responders battle blazes on both ends of the state, bringing the statewide death toll to 44… Fierce winds continue to threaten lives and homes in Southern California's Woolsey Fire, which has killed two people so far. read more

THINK.
The statewide fire protection agency said the fire razed more than 6,700 buildings making it the most destructive in state history. More than 250,000 people have evacuated from their homes. A recent Villanova University study concluded that approximately 7 million homes are located in fire-prone areas in the West. In 1940, that number stood at 600,000. Some scientists have pointed to changing climate patterns as the cause of the fire. President Trump blamed “gross mismanagement” from state officials in a tweet. Natural disasters cause many to mourn, but they also provide opportunities for some to rise up. Enter a firefighter in Paradise, California. Watch this video of him saving an American flag from rubble near a home destroyed by the Camp Fire. This morning, many will wake up keenly aware of their loss. In sudden tragedy, we often look for familiar stability. And God who can sympathize with our every weakness can draw intimately close to those who feel completely lost. (Psalm 34:18, 121:5, Hebrews 4:14-15).

PRAY.
Pray for the those who have lost family members in these horrible fires that they would draw close to the Lord during this difficult time. And pray for all those who have lost their homes, and for the communities that must rebuild.

ACT.
If you want to help those affected by the Fires, this article provides some useful resources.


Judge Orders Recount in Florida's Palm Beach County Extended

Election officials in Palm Beach County, Fla. will have an extra five days to complete a machine recount of votes in four tightly contested races after a Leon County judge extended a key deadline for submitting election results to November 20. Under Florida law, the state Elections Canvassing Commission must certify election results no later than Nov. 20. The ruling is likely to delay that process, leaving Floridians wondering who their next senator, governor, and agriculture commissioner will be. The ruling, reported by The Palm Beach Post, came in a lawsuit filed by Jim Bonfiglio, a Democrat locked in a tight contest for a state House seat. That lawsuit asked the judge to extend the deadline for vote reporting in his race against Republican Mike Caruso. But Circuit Judge Karen Gievers moved to extend the recount deadline for the state’s three closely watched statewide races, as well, Bonfiglio told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday. The ruling is likely to prolong the bitter recount fights in Florida for several days more. read more

THINK.
In the Florida Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is still undecided as well as the governor’s race between Republican candidate Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum. Georgia is also still waiting for their election results. 

Democrat Governor Candidate Stacey Abrams filed a federal lawsuit Sunday asking a judge to delay vote certifications by one day. Her campaign wants election officials to count any votes that were wrongly rejected. Voting is a foundational component of this great American experiment and in Florida and Georgia people are working hard to make sure votes are properly counted. Each vote counts because every citizen matters. When the legitimacy of an election is questioned, the foundation of our country weakens (Proverbs 11:19, 14:34).

PRAY.
Pray for these important races in Florida and the Governor’s race in Georgia. Pray for everyone involved from the candidates to those tabulating the votes, and those deciding in court. Pray they would operate with integrity to uphold every vote cast as it was intended.

ACT.
Despite these races that are still counting votes, voter turnout in the 2018 midterms was up in a big way. 23 states had double-digit percentage-point increases in voter turnout compared with their 1982-2014 midterm election average. Check out these interesting charts to see which states saw the biggest increases last week. Where did your state line up?


Alabama Voters Pass Amendment to Display Ten Commandments at Public Schools

In the November 6 elections, residents of Alabama voted overwhelmingly to amend their state constitution to authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, including public schools. The measure, Alabama Amendment 1, also defined certain religious liberty rights to be included in the state's constitution. The amendment stated, “Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience," and, "The civil and political rights, privileges, and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his or her religious belief.” Alabama Amendment 1 won with 71.66% of the vote; 28.34% of voters opposed the measure. read more

THINK.
This amendment encourages schools and towns to display the ten commandments. They are now protected by the Alabama Constitution. Franklin Graham praised Alabamians for approving the amendment, "This is a great example of what a difference your vote can make. It is so important to vote and let the Christian voice be heard in the ballot box. In a time when secularism is attempting to remove God from everything in the public realm, this is major. As Christians, we need to keep praying, work boldly, and stand firmly on the Solid Rock. The Ten Commandments define God's laws and were the foundation of man's laws. I hope more states will follow Alabama's example!" Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” This is a major victory in Alabama all Christians should celebrate.

PRAY.
Praise God for this victory in Alabama for religious liberty and for bold leaders and voters willing to stand upon God’s word. And pray anyone who tries to hinder this amendment in Alabama would be unsuccessful at their attempts.

ACT.
Take a couple of minutes to read about two other terrific ballot victories. Voters in both Alabama and West Virginia approved measures to change their state constitutions to effectively outlaw abortion.


November is National Adoption Awareness Month

For over two decades, National Adoption Month has been promoted and celebrated every November in communities across the country. Many national, state, and local agencies as well as foster, kinship care, and adoptive family groups take the time to help educate their communities through programs, events, and activities that help raise awareness about the thousands of children and youth currently in foster care who are waiting for their own permanent, loving families. President Trump issued a proclamation recognizing and celebrating adoptive parents and families, birth mothers and birth fathers, and the children affected. Read his proclamation read more

THINK.
Adoption happens because of brokenness. In the natural and the supernatural, this courageous act of love and selflessness helps to bring healing, hope, and wholeness. It was God’s plan to reconcile us to Himself as evidenced in Ephesians 1:4-5: ‘For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. Inlove, He predestined us for adoption to sonship (or daughtership) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.’ There is no salvation without adoption. None. So, Christians, especially, should understand adoption in a deeply spiritual and personal way. Adoption is the essence of salvation. In the natural, we shouldn’t think of it as a last resort. Sometimes, it should be the first resort.” Read more. As a mom with two children, both born through the gift of adoption, this truth is a living reality. I’m so grateful for the birth-moms in my life who chose life and were willing to demonstrate enormous courage in a culture that sees abortion as an easier alternative for an “inconvenient” situation. Adoption is not easy for those who walk through it but seeing God’s providence and grace displayed for all involved is a miracle.

PRAY.
Pray for the thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted. Pray for the birth-moms and birth-fathers who have chosen adoption, that they would be strengthened and encouraged for making such a selfless choice. Pray for the church to do a better job leading in the defense of Life, at its most vulnerable, in what James 1:27 declares as pure religion: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

ACT.
Learn more about Brave Love, a great organization committed to changing the perceptions about adoption by telling stories that convey the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.