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How do you know God's presence?

I was raised as a Pentecostal Christian, I felt God’s presence many times. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. I had dreams and visions and saw them come to pass. I lay in my bed and prayed, some evenings I could feel him in the room with me.
But then, I came to a point in my life where I questioned everything. I decided I was not going to believe anything unless I experienced it for myself. I stopped reading the Bible and going to church, I stopped calling myself a Christian, and I stopped asking God for help. I started reading about Buddhism and practicing meditation.
Funny thing was, I felt the exact same presence, the exact same feeling as I did in church and when I prayed. I spent years following the teachings of Buddha and it vastly improved my day to day life. I learned to feel and control the flow of Qi energy through my body and opened my chakras on several different occasions. I entered meditative states of consciousness far more intense than anything I ever felt in church.
But even to this day, I sometimes pray to God in my bed and feel that same nostalgic presence. Different from what I feel when I move my own Qi energy. Every once in a while I check and I can always still speak in tongues.
Is God not real and am I just creating the energy I feel? Is God not real, but the presence I feel is my own personal, spiritual guide, who sticks with me regardless of what religion I follow? Or is God real, but he’s ok with me studying Buddhism.
I prayed to God on several occasions, on nights when I can feel his presence, and I ask him, if he is not happy with the way I am living my life or my study of Buddhism, that he take his Holy Spirit from me. If I ever lose the ability to speak in tongues, I will know that I must turn back to Christianity. But that still has not happened yet.
I’m curious how other people feel about this. Do you distinguish between spiritual energies or the presence of spiritual beings? For Christians, how do you know if you are feeling God’s presence, or if it’s just your own spirit, or your own emotions? For atheists, is everything people consider spiritual just emotions and imagination?
I liked Sister’s answer, but looking at the effect will not explain what the cause was. There may be many different reasons why things happen the way they do.
Even Haazer also gave a well thought answer, but not an answer to my question. Even basically said, yes, it might be God or it might be Satan, but doesn’t say how to tell the difference, only says to have faith and believe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. in my expereince the ‘feeling’ is right and good enough to know that it’s from God.
    Don’t forget though there is a devil and he can decieve

  2. Honestly I’m skeptical about people speaking in tongues, although I know it is recorded in the Bible that people did indeed speak in tongues.
    I know it’s God mainly when I know that there could be no other explanation for such an experience. It COuLD be coincidence, but eh i don’t really believe in random acts and occurrences.

  3. I am a Muslim and I know that Allah is there when my prayers are answered and when things always work out for the better. Sometimes things that you don’t expect and after a while you reflect and see that all that happened was for the best. That makes you realise that Allah is there. Also I notice how easily things work out for me with little effort on my part. E.g I never really study as much as i should and not as much as others i don’t think yet I still come out with really high grades with minimal effort, Al Hamdulillah. Who but Allah can make that happen?
    Also our religion is such that there is heaps of proof, we don’t just cross our fingers and believe. The Quran is full of things, e.g scientific facts that no one can contradict and also we know that those facts could not have been determined by mere humans 1400 years ago. So we can only say that the words are from Allah.
    The Quran also defines how we should live our lives and by what laws we should be governed. There are many different ways of life in this world, e.g capitalist, democracy, communism, socialism and so on. Are any of those perfect, no far from it.
    But if we study how the Quran tells us to live our lives it is a perfect system if we follow is exactly. Everything is thought of and there are no gaps. Can a human think of that? no! So there must be a Allah!
    I hope that answers your question
    Cheers

  4. I think just being engaged in the thought about God means to feel God’s presence. It does not really depend on the way or the vehicle you chose to think about God. If being close to God means to be Buddhist for you then that seems to be the right way for you to go. I think God wants us fo feel good about ourselves so the makes us chose the spiritual way to communicate with him which best suits our personality. After all God is omnipotent.
    This is just my personal opinion.

  5. Dreams and visions? Even performed miracles? Wow!
    So did and will do many before and after you yet into that day…”Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matthew 7:21-23.
    Careful now… observe that God doesn’t argue with them about the things they did nor He contradicts them. He simply says that He never knew them. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3.
    Do you understand now that it’s not visions, miracles, speaking in tongues or the feeling of some extra person’s presence that proves you are saved. You simply can not put your trust in those things. Matthew 7:21-23 is a good example in that case. They drive out demons and perform many miracles. Many miracles. How many did you performed? 100? It’s for nothing. Those miracles doesn’t prove you have everlasting life. In the end He may tell you plainly: “I never knew you”.
    So, again: how can you be sure you have everlasting life? “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God”. If you knew God you would knew your sins but it’s obvious you have no idea about them. Idolatry is a sin for which many have already perished.
    Solution: Stop deceiving yourself and others, repent and come to know Christ before it’s all too late.

  6. For one, I’ve been where you are now some 24 years ago and know for a fact that you are back slidden. Buddism & Islam are steeped in idolatry leading man astray. Experiencing our Lord is more than feeling in that it is faith & trust. In James 4:13 we are told to, “Go to Now” which is telling us to be in the present (putting our whole attention on the task at hand) stilling the mind; in that instant God will minister to your mind, body and soul and many experience wonderful feelings but this is only a small part of what is taking place. So don’t place you faith on feelings or speaking in tongues but do get back into the Word of God reading it daily.
    Remember: What you allow yourself to think, see, hear, say and do literally directs the path you will walk in this life so knowing this focus you mind, eyes, ears, tongue and deeds on that which is good and positive.
    In Jesus’ Love
    Robert <

  7. Both Christian and Buddhist scriptures have passages that endorse a very practical approach to questions like these you are having. In the Christian idiom, “test the spirits”; in the old school Buddhist Kalama sutra, “accept only that which you have found in your own experience to be helpful and wholesome and true.”
    .
    Be honest — there is no more profound way to connect with what is most simply Real.
    .
    THAT is matter-of-factly before our words, and before our concepts, and before even even holy beliefs and notions.
    .
    “Touch the earth.”

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