Counterfeit Gifts--how can we tell the difference?

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In all the years I have been serving the Lord, I have received a few true words of knowledge.
A word of knowledge will be very specific.
In one instance, I had been suffering from painful ulcers on my tongue (very unusual).
My doctor didn't have a clue, and I had determined I wasn't going to spend any more money while she "tried" this and that in an effort to clear up my problem.
I went to a bible study one evening and asked for prayer. I was in constant pain. 
The leaders prayed for me, and the Bible study continued.
Suddenly, one of the women sitting in front of me turned around and said, "Jocelyn, the Lord just showed me it's your toothpaste."
Sure enough, I realized the problem had started a few months prior when I had changed the brand of tooth-paste I usually used. I immediately went back to my old brand and the problem cleared up with 48 hours.
The best advice I can give to any new Christian is to warn them that, even though the gifts of the Holy Spirit are very real, the counterfeit does exist and, sadly, is most likely far more prevalent [than the real] in our churches today.
The only way to tell the difference (aside from the gift of discerning of spirits which every Christian does not have), is to know the Word of God well, trust the promptings of the Holy Spirit and have an absolutely "no compromise" policy concerning those who give false prophecies.
The scriptures are clear on that. There is no deviation from the fact that if a man or woman opens their mouth in the name of the Lord and the thing they say does not come to pass--they are false prophets--period.
Telling a person what is going on in their life is no sign they are real. The devil knows what is going on in our lives and his soothe-sayers can spout it out right well.
His ministers can appear as ministers of righteousness.
As a very young Christian, I received many "prophecies/words of knowledge" from several different ones. But because I had the habit of reading my Bible through on a consecutive, regular, daily basis from the day I was powerfully  converted, I understood there was a strong possibility some of those "words," no matter how good they sounded, were not from the Holy Spirit. So I would jot them down and "put them on the shelf" (so to speak) and see if they came to pass.
Hind-sight is 20/20, and now, 20 some odd years later, I am glad I listened to the Holy Spirit concerning some of those I felt checks in my spirit about--as their prophecies have never come to pass--that makes them false prophets.
At the time I was questioning some of these people (with nothing solid I could pin down, because they appeared so Godly), I was accused of being "critical" by some of those closest to me (who refused to listen to the warnings the Holy Spirit was placing in their own spirits). They wound up becoming entangled, more than once, with some of those they now acknowledge were false.
But the damage was done. Some of those who criticized me, at that time, are now heavily involved with the ministries of false prophets today. Because once we refuse to listen to the truth, our discernment becomes distorted and only becomes more so the longer we reject the truth in favor of the lie. The scriptures warn this will happen.
It is a dangerous thing to develop the habit of going "whoring" after those who give us "words" from the Lord (for direction) instead of feeding on the Word of God on a daily basis, and acknowledging him in all their ways, so he can direct their paths.   
I know people who will drive, for miles, to attend certain meetings just because they know the one who will be speaking always has "a word" for everyone who attends. I know people who go on a weekly basis to a "Prophetic Presbytery," and pay for recordings of their "word" to be mailed to them. 
To put it in layman's terms--they are going to get their fortunes told. They are even paying for it. 
Many ministries capitalize on the "prophets" in their midst and make that the foundation upon which they build membership numbers and exercise control over their people (see Jeremiah 5:31).
An "in house prophet" can be a very profitable and powerful thing, and there are many who will not hesitate to capitalize. 
What we are seeing in most churches today is nothing more than old fashioned soothe saying dressed up as gifts of the Holy Spirit. The demonic oppression that comes with this kind of thing isn't particular about where the point of contact is--at church or at the local psychic's.

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               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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