Voir Dire

Voir Dire, pronounced “vwah deer” is a French phrase that means “to tell the truth.” It is from the Latin and is primarily used in the practice of law when attorneys question jurors to determine their fitness to sit on a particular jury.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are admonished to tell the truth. The Scriptures are full of references about the consequences of lying versus telling the truth. It should be a simple thing to tell the truth but it isn’t.

From the time we first learn to speak we must be taught to tell the truth, it does not come naturally. “Did you eat the cookie?” we are asked and we answer, “No.” All the while we have cookie crumbs on our faces as we finish chewing the last of the offending cookie. We grow older, “Did you hit your sister?” No,” and the bruise is fresh on her arm. “Why are you late from your date?” “The car ran out of gas.” Again, we face our parents with our hair askew and our clothes rumpled.

As we move towards adulthood, we are taught the art of social lying. “How are you today?” The inevitable “Fine” comes out of our mouths before we even process the question. I remember seeing a newborn that was lacking in beauty to say the least. The mother was basking in the praise being showered on her baby. I had to really work at saying something that was not a lie and yet did not hurt the mother. “He sure looks like his Daddy,” worked in that instance but it was hard to not lie outright.

Telling the truth takes work and practice. We must use wisdom when speaking in order to not hurt others. “Speak the truth in love,” we are admonished in Ephesians 4: 15. This is not an easy task. Ask any husband about what he says when his wife asks him about what she is wearing. My husband has developed dodging the question into an art form.

Not to make light of the subject, I find myself evaluating my answers many times. Did I tell the truth? Did I throw in something accidentally that wasn’t true? Did I exaggerate the situation? Did I hold back important information? It takes discipline and practice to learn to speak the truth. How are you at “voir dire?” Let our readers know of any tips you use in order to help you tell the truth. It is a difficult habit to develop.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Parallel Realities

On Sunday morning, I received a message on Facebook. Normally, I ignore the messages unless they are personal, but this one was flagged and so I looked at it. It talked about martial law soon to be in effect, people getting arrested and President Trump being sworn in again on January 20th.

I was kind of in shock at the thinking and showed the message to my husband. I then called a girlfriend and told her about it. I asked, “Am I living in an alternate reality?” In my world, the message seemed so out of touch with reality than I couldn’t comprehend how someone could believe that it would be happening. On Monday, I heard from a few people that thought that the President might actually be sworn in on the 20th. I then watched the riots on January 6th and heard what some people thought was going to happen when they went to D.C.

It made me realize that we are living in a country where people are living in parallel realities. There is such a divide, such a disparity in the news services that no one really knows the truth. One group listens to one news service and believes what it says. Another group listens to another news channel and believes what it says; hook, line and sinker. What bothers me is that there seem to be so few people in the center, so few people that are willing to look at both sides of the problems and issues. Is there any way we can bridge the divide between both realities?

It seems to me that we must stop getting our news from just one source. We must listen to disparate points of view in order to find the truth. We must stop listening to politicians and believing everything they are telling us is the truth. They should be the last people we rely on for the truth as they have a political stake in most outcomes. We must also stop demonizing people who are on the other side of the political spectrum. No one is all good or all bad. No one person or side has THE ANSWER to all of the problems that we face as a nation. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth and the answer for most of our problems.

Do you see what I see concerning parallel realities? If so, what do you think can be done to help bring our country back together and bridge the divide?

Image by Octavia A. Tudose. Courtesy of Pixabay.


red-carpet-1842850_640photo by Alexas Fotos. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Last week, I was listening to a woman speak to a large audience. She had been dealing with cancer and had gone through chemotherapy. I knew she had lost her hair and was amazed at how good she looked. Her hair was beautiful and her skin was glowing. I thought, “Wow, she looks so healthy!” The next day I was able to look at her up close and realized she had on a wig and pretty heavy makeup. It was all an illusion. Who knows what she really looked like without the wig and the makeup? She certainly was well enough to speak to a large audience but had not progressed to the point that she looked like she had previously.

Have you ever looked at a model and thought, “She is just beautiful.” Later when you see her without her makeup, false eyelashes and wig, she looks pretty much like everyone else. You realize you were looking at an illusion, an image that was being projected. The thing about illusions is that we are looking at them all of the time. When we watch a television show or a movie, we are watching an illusion. The people are not really in a war, hospital or home. They are on a set creating an illusion. The industry has become so good at it that we don’t need our imaginations anymore to help us believe what we are seeing. The illusion looks like reality.

When I was growing up, my father used to say, “Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear.” I understood the hearing part but I struggled with the seeing part. Now, I am beginning to understand. Much of what I see is an illusion that is being projected as reality. In the case of television programs and movies, that is a given. However, when I look at people, that is not always a given. I need to look closer at them and attempt to see below the surface. Only then will I have a better understanding of what I am seeing. What about you? How’s your vision? Are you able to see a bit of reality beyond the illusion?

The Facts are not Equal to the Truth


When you think about your life, do you focus on the negative facts about it? Were you raised in poverty? Did your mother or father leave your family? Have you lost a business, an election or had to declare bankruptcy? Did you not have much of a formal education? Do you suffer from a physical or mental disability? Do you focus on these facts and believe that they are the sum total of who you are?

I just want you to know that the negative things that have happened to you do not define who you are. They are NOT the sum total of who you are. In other words the facts about your life are not equal to the truth of who you really are. Those negative things are just a part of the story of your life, they are not the totality of who you are. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few examples:

This man was born into poverty. He had about eighteen months of formal schooling. He failed at his first business. He lost eight times he ran for public office. He was estranged from his father. He battled depression for most of his adult life. Who was he? Abraham Lincoln. We all know that he was not the sum total of the negative facts about him and he made one of the greatest contributions to the history of our country.

This man was born into poverty. His parents were on the run from the authorities for the first few years of his life. He lived as an immigrant in a foreign country during those years. He worked as a skilled laborer. The last few years of his life, he lived as a transient. Who was he? Jesus. I don’t need to tell you the contribution he made to the planet.

Just remember one thing: THE FACTS DON’T EQUAL THE TRUTH. 

The truth of who you are is so much greater than any negative facts about you. Everyone has negative things happen to them. It is only part of the story of their lives. The truth about each one of us is far greater than any negative aspect about us. If we want to be productive people, we need to focus on the positive things in our lives and not focus on the negative things that have happened to us. When we do this, we can live our lives knowing that the facts about us don’t equal the truth of who we really are!positive-455580_640image by geralt. courtesy of Pixabay


Astroturfing – Giving You Everything But the Truth!

Have you ever been researching something and you click on a website that looks like it has some real information and public feedback in it? You begin reading and something doesn’t seem quite right. Even though the website is supposed to have public input and comments, it seems more like a public service announcement for the company or organization you are researching. Before you leave the site, you say to yourself, “What’s up with this site?” Have you ever thought that it could be a site set up by people who are Astroturfing? Unless you are familiar with the word, you probably won’t be thinking in those terms.

So what is Astroturfing? Wikipedia defines it like this: “Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.” In other words, it is an artificial site set up by the organization or company in order to promote their views. Think of it this way:  You are looking up the efficacy of a certain drug. You don’t want to go to the manufacture’s site and so you click on another site that talks about the drug. It has testimonials promoting the drug and its efficacy. Because of the statements of the people, you are inclined to try the drug because so many people are talking about the positive results they had when they took it.

What you don’t know is that the site was set up by the manufacturer of the drug and that the testimonials were not written by real users of the drug. They were written by people hired by the company in order to promote the drug and get you to buy it! Does it really happen that way? Astroturfing happens every day of the week. As the definition stated: political parties, religions, companies, and people promoting certain issues will create a site in order to skew people in favor of what they are promoting. Sounds unethical doesn’t it? But is it illegal?

On the face of it, Astroturfing is not illegal. However, once it has come to light that the site is, in fact a false front for the company or organization, it can possibly be fined for illegal business practices. Has someone suffered irreparable harm because of the information on the site? There may be a cause for action there also. 

Astroturfing, as disingenuous as it is, comes in other forms also. A company may send in their own people to a public hearing and take up all of the seats in the room so that there is no room for dissenters. It is used by organizations to stack the deck against the opposition and stifle dissent. If you look closely, you can find it in lots of arenas. 

As writers and researchers, we can be incensed about sites and information that has been Astroturfed.But when it comes to reviews, we also have to be careful that we are not Astroturfing. Reviewtracker.com defines Astroturfing this way: “Astroturfing is the practice of preparing or disseminating a false or deceptive review that a reasonable consumer would believe to be a neutral third-party testimonial…On the surface, this practice is simply unethical but not necessarily damaging for those reading the review, and certainly not illegal.” In other words, if most of our reviews are written by our friends and family and are not written by unbiased consumers, people will not get an objective opinion about our product. We are, in fact, Astroturfing!

In the end, whether seeking truth or disseminating it, one has to ask oneself, “Is it real or is it Astroturf?


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Photo by Mike Fallarme on Pexels.com





Predictive Prophecy



Anyone who has gone through the University system has met many a professor who does not believe in a Supreme Being. They can be quick to denigrate the Bible and tell you that it is just an old ancient book that has no relevance in today’s society. When they say that, you may go back to your dorm room and look at your Bible and think, “Is that really true? Does it indeed not have any relevance for today?”

So what makes the Bible unique? What makes it different from any other book that has been written? How can it stand the test of time and still come out as a best-seller even in modern times? Why can we indeed depend on it as a source of truth and inspiration? Two words…predictive prophecy. The Bible claims to be the very words of God. What authenticates it and has authenticated it through centuries past? Predictive prophecy; that is what makes it different from any other source of wisdom and verifies the authority of its words.

What is predictive prophecy? Throughout the Bible, there are hundreds of prophecies about Jesus, Israel, the nations, and specific people. Hundreds of these prophecies have already been fulfilled accurately. They are so accurate in their fulfillment that they cannot be denied. For example, there are hundreds of prophecies about Jesus, the Messiah. During the course of his birth, life and death, he fulfilled over two hundred of them. The odds of that happening are astronomical, to say the least. We know that if these were fulfilled at his first coming, that the remaining prophecies will be fulfilled during his second coming and reign.

The nation Israel strayed from God and there were many prophecies predicting its judgment. Over and over, these prophecies were fulfilled. They were scattered among the nations and the prophecies concerning their regathering are happening right to this very day. Even the prophecy in Isaiah 66:8, “Can a nation be born in a day?” was accomplished on May 14, 1948. 

The ruler, Cyrus the Great, was named in the book of Isaiah one hundred and fifty years before he came into power. Is that some sort of coincidence? I don’t think so. In the book of Daniel, the eleventh chapter encompasses a brief history of the wars and ensuing intrigues between the Seleucids of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt. It is so accurate that historical scholars have a hard time believing it was written hundreds of years before the events took place.  

These are just a few of the examples of predictive prophecy in the Bible, there are many more within its pages, too numerous to count. One thing we can be sure of is this; if the previous prophecies were fulfilled, the future prophecies will be also. How could this happen? I believe that God sits outside of time and sees the end from the beginning. He inspired the prophets of old to write things that they themselves did not see or understand, things that would come to pass in the future. We can rely on the truth of the Bible, and know that its predictive prophecy is the proof of it.


“You’re Taking Yourself with You.”

I have a good friend who is a Christian Counselor. We were talking about how many times we think that changing our circumstances, i.e.  job, spouse or location will make us happier. She said, “We always have to remember: You’re taking yourself with you.”

luggage-2708829_1280 Photo by Alexes  Fotos. Courtesy of Pixabay.

I’ve thought about those words a lot. If I am unhappy in a certain situation in my life, my natural tendency is to think, “If only  _______ was different.” I only need to fill in the blank. Would that blank be: my job, my kids, my spouse, my house, my car? That certainly depends on what problem I am facing. If only….

My friend made me realize that the first person I need to question anytime I am unhappy with a situation is myself. What is my response to what I am going through? Am I contributing to the problem? Is there something in me that is causing the problem? Am I just plain discontented with my circumstances and refusing to be thankful and content where I am?

Those are hard questions, but real ones that we all have to think about when we are evaluating our circumstances and our discontentment or unhappiness. Who is the main contributor to our problems? Not always, but many times it is really ourselves. We are the ones holding onto a bad attitude or an intractable position.  Changing our circumstances is not really going to make us any happier…after all, we will just be taking ourselves with us!