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Seeking a personal encounter with God

Discussion in 'Testimonies' started by TruthSeek3r, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    Hi. New to this forum. I just want to share with others my desire to have a personal encounter with God. To very briefly introduce the context and motivation of my search, I think it basically reduces to a combination of 1) me having several episodes of existential crisis (being agnostic, not knowing the purpose of life, not being able to successfully build an "artificial purpose" to motivate myself either), 2) watching tons of testimonies about the existence of a spiritual world (testimonies from the new age, witchcraft, occultism, psychic powers, reiki, psychedelics, ayahuasca, DMT, astral projection, remote viewing, spirit guides, paranormal activities, also testimonies about the Holy Spirit, God, Jesus, etc.), and particularly 3) watching testimonies of people who were once involved in occultist practices and due to different life circumstances ended up finding Jesus and becoming Christians, having supernatural experiences both before and after their conversions. Here are some example testimonies of point 3 available on YouTube (some of them uploaded very recently actually):
    So basically I've watched many testimonies as the ones linked above and more, and I got to the point that I just needed to make up my mind and start seriously seeking God by myself in order to have my own personal encounter with him. Because, no matter how impressive others' testimonies are and no matter the potentially overwhelming amount of testimonies I could watch, at the end of the day all testimonies are just anecdotal information that I'm storing in my brain, but if I don't experience or live anything by myself, all this information will be useless.

    So, long story short, about a week ago I began to seek God everyday in prayer, asking Him to concede me a personal encounter with Him that would change my life forever. My "seeking plan" comprises the following points:
    1. Living in holiness as much as I can (not giving in to sinful urges, avoiding worldly things, purifying my thoughts and actions the best I can, etc.)
    2. Listening to Christian music.
    3. Praying, specially at night when there is more privacy.
    4. In particular, when praying one of the main points I stubbornly stress almost all the time is that I want to have a personal encounter with God.
    5. Continuing watching testimonies, sermons and other materials to keep me engaged and motivated to keep seeking.
    So far, the main "highlight" of my seeking process so far is that a couple of times I've been able to experience what I would call as "moments of intense fervor in prayer", I mean, moments in which I became very emotional during prayer, even to the point of crying, feeling deep inside a very deep desire from the bottom of my heart to find God (for instance, a few nights ago I remember praying in my mind something along the lines of "Oh God, how beautiful it would be if I just could find you and live the rest of my life in deep communion with you ..." while experiencing intense fervor and having tears in my eyes at the same time). I'm not always able to achieve such level of fervor while praying, as I said it has only happened a couple of times, only lasting for relatively short time spans each time, but I try to take these experiences as little glimpses of what may eventually lay ahead if I keep seeking God everyday non-stop.

    I'm afraid though that days may go by and I could lose motivation and quit seeking God prematurely. To prevent this from happening, I try to motivate myself to keep going by watching testimonies of people who testify having had personal encounters with God. One of the testimonies that motivates the most is Paul Washer's, in which he says he prayed every night for months without success, until eventually God visited him. Check it out:

    So basically that's it. Based on tons of testimonies from all around the world I've come to a point in which I have a very strong suspicion that the spiritual realm does exist, and in particular I've felt moved by very strong conversion testimonies to seek God myself. Right now I'm in the middle of this seeking, with the hope that God will eventually reveal himself to me and my life will change forever.

    I would love to receive feedback from others.
    I hope to post updates here from time to time.

    Thank you very much.

    --------------------------

    Update: you can find all testimonies I've watched in this link (work in progress). The testimonies are ranked from most impressive to less impressive. The top 10 testimonies are just unbelievably astonishing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
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  2. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Read The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St John Climacus. You will find what you are looking for. Don't be surprised when it seems all too familiar given what you've told us.
     
  3. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Have you been born again?? This is 'square one'.

    Are you in Christian fellowship?

    Sounds like you are on the right track but you may need some support.
     
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  4. Richard Mulcahy

    Richard Mulcahy Member

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    Hello TruthSeek3r,

    Part of my testimony is I read the bible in 2003 from beginning to end over a 6 month period. When I read in the bible about miraculous signs and wonders and spiritual gifts I prayed to the Lord to show me such wonders. Well, I have since seen many things you are welcome to read my three posts on the eagle cloud, transfiguration and miraculous signs and wonders. They are under my name.

    I often pray the Lord's prayer and Psalm 23. However found this prayer for you just now.

    Lord, please reveal Yourself and Your plans to me. Show me that You are real, that You love me endlessly, and that You have great plans, and a future with hope for me. Surround me with Godly influences, individuals, and resources that will lovingly hold me accountable and guide me back onto Your path. Give me the courage to continue through the hard times and trials and to trust in Your promises … because they are tested and proven. Help me to understand the bible when I read and hear Your words and how to apply them so that I can continue to be transformed into Your image and all that You made me to be. Show me that my identity comes from You and not the world … that You made me perfect and that You are and will be my Heavenly Father that cares for me, provides for me, and gives me eternal life. I praise You and thank you for hearing me in Jesus’ precious and mighty name, AMEN!

    Take care and God bless...
     
  5. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    Not sure how to tell if I am. Would you mind elaborating?

    No, right now I'm looking to have a personal encounter with God while seeking him in prayer in the privacy of my room.

    Yeah, I think it would be great to meet with and have the support of people in real life who have had supernatural encounters with God and who are filled with the Holy Spirit, but it's not easy to find people like that unfortunately.
     
  6. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    You could visit some local churches and let believers know your interest in finding God for yourself...
     
  7. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Being born again is a matter of giving your whole life to Jesus, acknowledging that you want His control, that you have messed up, and give Him permission to permanently reside in your heart and take over your life...

    There is a God shaped space that He alone can fill - His Holy Spirit comes and you have a friend inside - forever.

    He gives you the heart desires to love Him and not do those things that bring Him grief from that time on.

    He will spiritually transfer you into His Kingdom realm where He reigns.

    Read the Gospel of John prayerfully - this will help heaps.
     
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  8. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    I think I match your definition of being born again to some extent. I mean, during my prayers I've told God that I want to know him personally, that I want to have a personal supernatural encounter with him as many people have reported to experience in their testimonies, because I want to know the truth and if the spiritual world is real and more importantly if God is real then of course I want to know him and the purpose he has for my life, and in my prayers I've told him that I'm more than willing to surrender myself completely to him, to have communion with him and to live the purpose he has for me. BUT, I cannot do so if he doesn't reveal himself to me in the first place. THAT's the main problem and that's why right now my main focus is to ask him to concede me a personal encounter with him.

    Also, during this process of seeking God I'm doing my best to remain in holiness as much as I can, and I think I'm experiencing a true desire to remain in holiness and avoid worldly things. But at the same time I'm also experiencing a bit of "background" pessimism each day that goes by, because sometimes I say "ok, tonight I'm gonna pray to God so fervently that I'll have a supernatural experience with Him and my eyes will be opened to the reality of the spiritual world and my life will change forever", but then after a lot of night praying I fall asleep and the next day I realize that nothing happened and therefore it's easy to get pessimistic and even depressive about this whole process. I mean, ok, it's not that "nothing" has happened, sometimes I feel like a kind of subtle refrigerating energy in some regions of my body when I start to open my heart in prayer which I don't remember experiencing in other contexts before my seeking. So maybe that might be a little subtle glimpse of experience that God is letting me feel so that I know I'm in the right track. But again this gets mixed up with the background pessimistic feelings. So I don't know. I guess I just need to figure out a way to keep myself motivated to keep seeking God while at the same time knowing this might take a while because God takes his time, so that I don't fall into the trap of pessimism and quitting prematurely. I guess I just need to have a marathon mindset instead of a sprint mindset. It's just that I'm afraid that months may go by and if nothing happens I might end up spiraling back into depression and existential crisis.
     
  9. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Mmmm... it isn't alway easy to understand just where folks are at in cyberspace.

    However I must say that you cant expect to come to Him on your terms.

    Sometimes He reveals Himself with a dramatic encounter and sometimes He doesn't.

    How much scripture do you read and what fellowship do you have?

    I think some prayer for the right fellowship would be a good call - you could put a request for this on the prayer wall...
     
  10. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    You might meditate on this verse...

    Heb 11:6

    And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe
    that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
     
  11. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    But if God reveals himself to me then for sure I WILL KNOW IT. I mean, if God reveals himself to you, he will make sure to do it in a way that will be effective for you personally, right? Otherwise, it wouldn't make sense to reveal yourself to someone in a way that that person won't even notice. So the very fact that I'm still here trying to find God shows me that God hasn't revealed himself to me in a way that is effective for me.

    Also, it's one thing to know about God intellectually, to gather anecdotal knowledge about God intellectually (like watching testimonies of other people, learning intellectually about God with biblical study, etc.) but it's a completely different thing to actually know God personally, first hand, trough some sort of personal spiritual experience. I mean, there are tons of testimonies of God revealing himself to people like this on the web (for example, feel free to watch any of the testimonies I linked in my first post). In the Bible we can also find reports of this in things like the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, etc.

    Currently I'm mostly watching preachers on Youtube, currently mostly Paul Washer (who by the way also testifies to have had a supernatural encounter with God, I encourage you to watch this video, only 6 minutes long). But I'm considering reading the Bible too, I will probably start by the New Testament.

    Regarding the fellowship, I'm currently doing this seeking on my own.
     
  12. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    Thank you very much for the verse. If I understand correctly, the takeaway is that I must persevere in my seeking and eventually God will reward me with a personal encounter?
     
  13. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Yes totally agree but it may be a 'still small voice and not necessarily something 'super-natural'

    Agree again as long as you accept it will be on His terms.

    For the record I have has several such encounters and they are an anchor point of my faith.

    Reading scripture is critical, otherwise you can get caught up in some experiential trip that is not God and you would not know.

    Fellowship is also critical as our certainty about spiritual matters is given to those in unity with the brethren in mutual submission. Lone wolf Christianity is very dangerous.
     
  14. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Yes... but you confession so far, is that you are not sure that He exists.
     
  15. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    Right ... I mean, yes and no. I think it has to do with my agnostic / skeptic background. Right now, for me, based on the tons of testimonies I've watched, in probabilistic terms it's very very very likely that there is a spiritual / metaphysical / supernatural dimension to this reality. I just can't deny the amount of reports and testimonies of people around the world. There are reports of paranormal activity everywhere, also testimonies of people getting involved in the occult, new age, witchcraft, satanism, other religions, very advanced practitioners of Yoga, people who use psychedelics, ayahuasca, DMT, people doing astral projection (there are lots of testimonies about that on the web), near death experience testimonies, etc. etc. Even the CIA got interested into psychic powers and had a whole project on researching remote viewing called Stargate Project. So considering all of this, and from a probabilistic point of view, I would say with a very high degree of confidence that there must be a dimension of reality that current models in Physics are not accounting for, which is what we all refer to as the spiritual realm. So I can acknowledge that intellectually. No problem. It's not a 100% sure, because I've never had a spiritual or supernatural experience myself in the past, but still I can believe it with at least 98+% level of confidence (if you ask me to guesstimate a number). That's just for believing in the spiritual ream in general.

    Now, if you ask me about the degree of confidence of my belief in the God of the Bible, which is a more specific belief than the spiritual realm, here my degree of confidence is mainly sustained by the testimonies of people who have had personal encounters with God (Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc.). For instance, there are very shocking testimonies of people converting from the occult (new age, witchcraft, satanism, etc.) to Jesus. Testimonies of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Testimonies of miracles, healings. Testimonies of deliverance from demons and converting to Jesus afterwards. Etc. Again, I've never experienced anything like that in my life, ever, but the existence of so many testimonies, even if we are conservative and discard a big percentage of them based on pure uncertainty (maybe some of them are fake or misunderstandings), there would still remain a decent amount of very shocking testimonies about the God of the Bible. So yeah, probabilistically speaking, I would say I'm about 95+% confident that there must be a common truth behind the testimonies of so many people converting to Jesus and God via supernatural experiences.

    The problem is that I'm never 100% confident. There is always this little probability that maybe this, maybe that, and when you have an open mind you always have small percentage of doubt for everything. And I don't know how to get around that. HOWEVER, if I get to have a personal direct experience with God, I think THAT would be able to get me to that 100% level of confidence, which probably God would want me to have.

    Hope that makes things clearer now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  16. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    These verses from John 20 you may find interesting especially verse 29.

    19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

    24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

    26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
     
  17. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r New Member

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    Thank you very much for the verses. Very good verses. Very pertinent indeed. Yes, I get completely the point. But at the same time I cannot "fake" belief. I mean, as I said before, based on all testimonies I've watched I feel like there is a very high probability that God is real. That's why I made the decision to start seeking Him very seriously. Otherwise I wouldn't have even bothered. But at the same I just can't help it but have a minimal margin of doubt. You could say "it's in my skeptic nature". I mean, I come from a STEM background, very logical, mathematical, skeptical. I have gone through periods of extreme skepticism to the point of philosophical nihilism, not being able to find purpose in anything, not believing in anything, because if "we go philosophical" and stay open-minded all the way to the extreme, there are philosophical possibilities that we can pose but we can never rule out (e.g. "I'm the only real person and everything else is an illusion", "we are in the matrix", "the universe was created 5 minutes ago with the appearance of having been around for longer", etc.). What I'm trying to say is that for me it's extremely hard to believe in something with 100% level of confidence. There is always this "you never know" background possibility in my mind. I just can't help it. And I've got no idea what to do about it. I mean, I cannot just "brain wash myself" into believing something 100%. How do you that? What I can do is to ponder the evidence and acknowledge that certain explanations for the evidence can be more reasonable than others. With respect to the God of the Bible, my current understanding makes me conclude that it would be a very reasonable explanation for pretty much all the testimonies I've watched. I feel compelled to believe it. I don't deny that. But at the same if we try to be open-minded and keep a "healthy" level of skepticism you just never know, there is always room for maybe a little different interpretation of the evidence that might explain everything as well. You see? Due to the way my brain works, I just can't help it but have at least marginal doubts. That's why I think the only thing that could push me to levels of confidence of 100% would need to be some kind of supernatural experience with God. I just don't see any other way. I'm being totally honest here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  18. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    That's cool... Honesty is paramount - He wants you to be convinced. Keep asking Him to evidence Himself to you and He will - you will get to a point when you cant question any more. (Just like Thomas) The Greeks had a special word for this Epi-gnosis which means total knowing.

    I guess I was trying to warn you that this may not come by witnessing something 'supernatural' It may just be a profound inner peace.

    I have been involved with science most of my life and demand certainty.

    However even when you have certainty you will be tempted to doubt.

    God loves those who trust Him like a little child regardless of what life throws at us.

    We cant avoid the demand He makes for faith, but faith comes from hearing Him. The sin of unbelief comes when we dismiss what we have heard.

    For what it is worth you might be interested to read my testimony thread here...

    Jesus's Ministry
     
  19. Tone

    Tone Star Fish Radiant Supporter

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    Welcome to CF brother! I praise Yah for the work that is evident in your testimony--it is obvious that He has you in His "tractor beam", so to speak!

    Sometimes we're around somebody who we've heard a lot of good things about, and even in the same room as them, without quite knowing it...and then we introduce ourselves, and we're like, "Oh, that's you!"

    So, it seems that you do know Him, because of the journey you have already embarked upon and, like all the rest of us, you desire more...and you will seek it for the rest of your life...and possibly for all eternity.

    He has made us in such a way that we may witness, experience, and even contain (to a certain extent) all the wonders of a vast (possibly endless) universe.

    And, yeah, as another brother mentioned, the most fitting and down to earth way to pursue Him right now is by fellowshipping with the rest of us as we navigate the choppy seas of this life, using the Bible as our Instrument.
     
  20. Tone

    Tone Star Fish Radiant Supporter

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    Where exactly are these...may I inquire?
     
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