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At times, people have privately forwarded me prophecies to tell me that they discern something amiss and ask me what my thoughts are on it too.  While I am by no means an expert on it, it is probably time I share some guidelines about how one might discern these prophecies.

First of all, it is difficult to discern through the typed word alone. I have often felt that if I could just be there as the prophecy was given, I could discern a whole lot better. We've got to remember that in the New Testament meetings, a prophecy was given amongst the people and the 'elder' prophets judged (discerned) it. A lot can be heard or felt when it is a taped voice, because at least then you can hear the word emphasis, the emotion, the concern-- and negatively-- the spirit (meaning a demonic one) as a person is speaking.

And so the difference between a typed prophecy and a taped one is almost like the difference between hearing someone over the phone speak and reading their words in a type written letter, instead.  Therefore, I find it hard to act as though words alone will tell everything, because the fact is--they won't. Yet that is all we have with internet prophecies, and so we must do the best we can. This we can do knowing that God can make up for some of the limitations of the internet, as He wills and as we pray.

What I am going to do here is give some common-sense guidelines. By doing so, it is not my intention to encourage easy dismissal. I have known people who preoccupy themselves with ruthlessly finding excuses to ditch a prophecy or the prophet over any small defect (as they define it, of course!). On the other hand, others seem to have such open minds that it is worrisome. You feel as though at any moment, they might drift away after a false prophecy or after their favorite immature or false prophet. If they are not careful, that is exactly what they will do.

What Christians need to remember is that discernment is a gift of the Spirit but it is also a thing of some spiritual 'common sense', as it were, often earned by good old-fashioned Bible study. Some of it is learned by experience and prayer. If our minds and spiritual senses are not engaged and active, then we will not be able to avoid the "trickery of men."

To that end, below are some general qualities that should alert the reader that the prophecy or prophetic ministry is definitely suspect:

Presently (as of year 2004), I could easily say that if a person were to disregard the prophecies that have any of the above warning signs, about 75% of all internet prophecies could be safely ignored. If you were to hit the delete button on all those who engage in obvious ego-mania and self-promotion, you'd be able to get rid of 95%! Go with God.

Love in Christ,

Teri Lee Earl
(rewritten from earlier 'rough draft' Feb, 2004)
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