November 5, 2019
Houston Belfort Special Meetings
The Belfort Apostolic Faith congregation in Houston, Texas, is thanking God for another spiritually refreshing time during the special meetings that took place from September 4 through 8, 2019. As in previous years, a whole month had been devoted to prayer for God's blessing on the services. A prayer breakfast was also held on the Saturday preceding the services. The event was promoted through a variety of media including radio, website, mailers, text messages, phone calls, and more, and visitors came from branch churches in Texas and Maryland, as well as some from the local neighborhood. Every guest was appreciated, but especially the guest minister, Reverend Ritchie Ho, and his wife, Polin, who visited from the Apostolic Faith Church in Langley, BC, Canada and made themselves available for God’s work during the special meeting,
The meetings were blessed with wonderful music selections from the choir and orchestra, and inspiring testimonies from a number of the attendees. On Wednesday evening, Brother Ritchie used Matthew 13:44-45 and spoke about “It”—the elusive thing in life that people suppose will bring satisfaction. He said every man and woman pursues “it,” usually through material possessions, fame, power, relationships, and so on. Yet, satisfaction of the soul is found only in Jesus Christ. Only by acknowledging one’s sins, confessing, and putting faith in Jesus Christ can a person found the real “it.” Then peace, joy, and contentment come to abide within. Brother Ritchie taught that salvation is of higher value than any material possession or human relationship, because it is of eternal value.
“Authority” was the title of the message on Thursday, with the Scripture reference taken from Mark 1:21-27. The emphasis was that Jesus Christ has all power in Heaven and on earth, and He gives this power to His Church. Brother Ritchie noted that in a church where the Spirit of God dwells, a sinner will not feel comfortable. Just as in the account of the demoniac when the presence of Jesus challenged the unclean spirit, sinners should have their hearts challenged by the Spirit and Word of God in a church.
Friday was a special night. The choir rendered two beautiful numbers, preceded by an instrumental selection. Following the prayer, the choir also sang with emotion, “Praise the Lord.” The sermon was on “The Love of God,” with reference text taken from 1 John 4:7-9. Brother Ritchie said that people long for love, but they are often disappointed because the love of humans is limited. Unlike man, God extends His love to whosoever, without any strings attached. He loves even sinners, so much that Jesus came to die for the sins of the whole world, and His love endures forever. God wants all sinners to accept His offer of salvation before the opportunity to repent slips away.
A concert was held on Saturday evening, with selections presented by the adult choir and the orchestra. The attendees were thrilled to join their voices together to sing Gospel songs—a reminder of what it will be like to sing together around the throne of God in Heaven.
Finally, on Sunday visitors from the branch churches gathered with the Belfort congregation once more to study the Sunday school lesson on “Peace.” The message of the morning worship service was on “The Image of God,” taken from Mathew 4:1-11. Referring to Genesis 1:26-28, Brother Ritchie said that God created man in His own image, which is holy, but humanity lost their spiritual identity of holiness when Adam and Eve chose to sin. Jesus came to atone for sin and to restore mankind’s image to be holy like God’s image, yet the devil continues to try to steal it away. Brother Ritchie admonished the congregation to ensure they do not allow the devil to steal their identity through sin.
Each sermon was followed by many gathering around the altars and pouring out their hearts to God in prayer, receiving various blessings. The congregation is thankful to God for His blessings throughout the meetings, and hope for another blessed special meeting next year, if Jesus Christ tarries.
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