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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Discern the False Prophet

My friend was under attack, both emotionally and spiritually from a man who claimed to have a message from God for her.
My godly friend is a woman of great spiritual strength.
She's spends a lot of time in the Word and in prayer.
Her life is characterized by service, submission, worship, leadership.
 She is supported by her pastors and elders.
And all who know her can attest how God works through her to minister to people and to encourage their faith.

Nevertheless, a man came to her office and tried to tell her that she should submit to his leadership and allow him to "teach" her.

My friend's experience is not new.
We've probably all run into a man or woman who claims to speak for God.
But how do you discern the truth —or deceit— in that person?

The Bible contains many warnings about "false prophets."

In the Old Testament, if a prophet claimed to have a word from God, and the thing he predicted didn't happened...then the people did not have to listen to him or to fear God's punishment. (Deut. 18:22)

But what about nowadays?

Matthew 24:11: "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."

Steps to identify a false prophet:
  1. Study the Word daily. A thorough knowledge of scripture will help you identify spiritual error in a person's words.
  2. Spend much time in prayer with the Lord. Learning to recognize His voice will sharpen your ears to recognize the true voice of God.
  3. Be under the proper submission to those placed by God over you: your pastor and other church leaders, your parents, (if you're a child) your husband, etc. because a rebellious attitude in one of these relationships makes you especially vulnerable to deceit.
  4. Spend time with other believers in fellowship, study, and worship.
  5. Meditate on God's Word throughout the day.
  6. Ask God for a discerning mind and heart.
  7. Discern the true motives of the person who is trying to tell you something in contradiction to what you've heard at church or through your Bible readings. Answer the following questions:
a. Do you know this person well?
b. What is this person's testimony of salvation?
c. Does he/she demonstrate saving faith?
d. Does this person have good relationships with others at church?
e. Has this person frequently left other churches? Why?
f. Is this person a new convert, or so new to the church that no one knows much about him/her?

If the words of this person are so troubling that you doubt your own mind, then seek counsel with your pastor or elder or counselor.
Examine your own heart. Why do the words of this person trouble you? Is it your own sin attitudes, or is it because something he says doesn't square with what you already know?

Surround yourself with mature and praying Believers during this time of perplexity.

Here's a verse to encourage you:

"As soon as it was night, the brother sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Act. 17:11 NIV Bible)

God bless you!


  1. Spot on, Dena. This is wise counsel and so needed in these troubling days when so many people are claiming to be followers of Christ and not living in obedience to His word. Keep giving us the truth, dear friend. And thank you for giving us instruction on how to discern a false prophet. Good, practical steps. God bless you.

  2. Dena, as always thank you for inspiration!
    Every blessing.

  3. Thanks, Nancy and Bobbe, you ladies encourage me to keep on keeping on!

  4. A genuine prophet will always give with an open hand. Anyone trying to manipulate or force you to accept their words should raise a red flag. The prophet always delivered the message, but it was up to the hearer to accept or reject it.

  5. Good point, Susan. Thanks. My friend saw red flags immediately!