Improving Your Vocabulary

Increasing your word knowledge has several benefits—both concrete and abstract. What’s more, you don’t have to invest copious amounts of time and money to make noticeable changes. The thing is, most people would appreciate having an improved vocabulary; however, they might not know where to start. But improving your vocabulary is easy and fun, so let’s get started.

First, what are the tangible benefits of an improved vocabulary? The measurable rewards have been brought to light via numerous studies and reports. Among the many benefits are greater employment opportunities, increased earnings, expanded communication (oral and written), higher test scores, better spelling, and enhanced reading comprehension.

Next, what are the intangible benefits? A robust vocabulary gives you newfound confidence and an increased sense of well-being. This proverbial “new lease on life” creates a kind of upward spiral. You are more confident in your abilities, therefore, strive for greater heights. Think of it like this: if you have a robust vocabulary, you will have enhanced reading comprehension. This increased reading ability stimulates you to read more, which in turn raises your word knowledge; thus, you continue to develop both your vocabulary and your confidence. WOW!

How can you improve your vocabulary? Well, the easiest way to start improving your word knowledge is by increasing the amount of time you spend reading. You can read books, newspapers, magazines, or articles on the web (like our Featured Article). However, for more significant development, you need a purposeful plan. Books like 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary, although a few years old, can offer a first-class start to your program, but special books are not a requirement. If you have a dictionary, thesaurus, or internet access, you have all the tools necessary. Too, remember many on-line dictionaries can provide a wealth of information regarding the definition and pronunciation of a word.

Plan to spend a few minutes every other day (every day if you have the time and feel inclined) working on your vocabulary. At the start of every session, select a new word or two you would like to master. This term can be a word chosen from the dictionary or an unfamiliar one recently encountered while reading.

Write the word several times on a sheet of paper, making sure to read it aloud each time it’s written. Next, manufacture a sentence using the selected word(s) of the day. After constructing the sentence, you should practice speaking it audibly, as if you were having a conversation with a friend. Furthermore, try using the term several times throughout the day, because this “real world” practice will help you quickly master its pronunciation and usage. And it’s a really amusing game to play, too.

As you can see, improving your word knowledge is an admirable goal that doesn’t require a hefty investment of time or money. In fact, just a handful of minutes a week can bring about a marked improvement in your vocabulary. Moreover, the dividends you receive will enrich your life, both personal and professional, for many years to come.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Sharing Your Faith

Regardless of your particular Christian sect, sharing the knowledge of Jesus Christ and God’s grace (the grace that saves the lives of all who accept it) should be your topmost priority. As a Christian, you have no greater responsibility than to minister to the lost by sharing your faith everywhere you go.

Sadly, most Christians don’t evangelize regularly—if at all. Sure, they attend church and church-related activities, but when it comes to sharing their faith, they are somehow not in attendance. When asked, most believers will provide a laundry list of excuses: he or she is not knowledgeable enough; they don’t have the time (too many church activities); they fear rejection and humiliation; or else he or she is simply not “that type of person.”

Whatever the reasons provided, they all have one thing in common: they are nothing but excuses, plain and simple. Sure, sharing your faith with others isn’t always easy, particularly at your place of employment. Your company’s policy can severely limit your evangelistic possibilities at work, and common sense must be paramount. Nevertheless, convenient times to minister will arise in both your personal and professional life. And any fear or apprehensions you might experience must be eradicated. Otherwise, you will squander the opportunities that are the essence of your growth as a Christian.

Why is it so important to reach the lost? Well, for starters, it’s what Jesus commanded; in fact, He was very adamant about this, it’s called The Great Commission, and the Bible documents this clearly (Matthew 28:18-20). (You can find this verse on our God’s Words page.)

Furthermore, if you are a Christian, then you know it states in John 14:6 that nobody comes to the Father except by way of Jesus. Therefore, if you sit idly by and watch a stranger, your neighbor, a co-worker, or a family member slowly move towards death without the saving knowledge of Jesus and God’s grace, you have lent a hand in their damnation (Mark 16:16).

How do you go about sharing your faith? There is no wrong or right way to minister the gospel; however, always speak the simple and beautiful truth, making sure your words have a biblical foundation. You cannot go wrong with this approach. And there are numerous resources to assist you in learning to share the gospel. The best place to start is your church. Ask your pastor or a member of his staff to assist you. They will be more than happy to help or recommend a class that offers training in evangelism. Moreover, many books, websites, and television programs focus on sharing the word of God and providing biblical information. Two of the most exceptional individuals involved in teaching others to share their faith are Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. They have books, teaching materials, and tracts (tools for evangelizing). Just do a web search or visit their website directly at livingwaters.com.

Now you understand the importance of sharing the message of salvation, and you know where to look for assistance if necessary. The rest is up to you. Ask God to provide you with a passion for evangelism. Pray for newfound enthusiasm when it comes to ministering to the lost. Therefore, instead of feeling aloof, you will have compassion toward your fellow man . . . and be a “true” follower of Jesus Christ.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Who Said Life Was Easy?

I’m not exactly sure when people became so sensitive, or when they began expecting an easy life without offense or struggle. But now we have children erroneously believing they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want; adults under the delusion that life should be replete with happiness and material possessions—forget about a budget; and just about everyone has developed a sense of entitlement.

Well, I have two pieces of information it would behoove you to learn: (1) life is not intended to be easy, (2) and nobody owes you anything.

Life is a process . . . and just being a human being is difficult. You have to endure sickness, pain, suffering, financial problems, etc. Moreover, you will have times when you will be rejected, offended, slandered without cause, left out, or criticized for your mistakes. And individuals with strong convictions will struggle to maintain those beliefs—ask any Christian.

Get used to it; it’s unavoidable.

If you need further examples, how many times have you simultaneously loved someone and been annoyed by them? Dealing with the guilt from those mixed emotions is challenging. Or have you ever wanted to change a situation but realized you didn’t have the ability? That is a truly humbling experience.

However, all of these difficulties come with opportunities to learn and grow. After all, you cannot master patience without practicing being patient. You’ll never develop strength without first enduring the stress. And success usually follows many, many failures.

So, toughen up and relish the beautiful process of life.

And I’ll leave you with a quote from Bruce Lee: “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

Locomotion Today

For further encouragement, you can visit our God’s Words page or InTouch Ministries. You can also reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Do We Really Want the Truth?

Throughout my adult life, I’ve heard friends, family, coworkers, etc., express their appreciation for honesty in people. But are individuals who proclaim their gratitude for truthfulness actually telling the truth?

Sure, I think we can all agree there are times when judiciousness is required when expressing your opinion. For example, when a husband asks his spouse about his weight, she might not need to be entirely candid. Or when a girlfriend inquires as to your love of her bland and overcooked pot roast, your first words should be: it’s delicious, dear.

Courteousness aside, do people really want truth most of the time?

The short answer to that question is: it depends on the individual. Not all people are mentally and emotionally matured enough to handle the cold, hard truth, and others are so convinced of their reality that truth is of absolutely no importance to them.

So, the point to remember is, when dealing with human beings, you must understand the individual and their idiosyncrasies. And if there is any uncertainty as to how a person will react to the “facts,” it would behoove you to error on the side of caution. In other words, save the drama for the soap operas.

I’m not asserting that you directly lie to someone, put them in jeopardy, or compromise your principles; however, there are times when you have to keep your mouth shut. Diplomacy is a skill necessary for a peaceful life.

(Words once spoken cannot be unspoken.)

Here is an interesting article at Time you might want to read regarding the subject: Honesty Isn’t Always the Best Policy in Relationships. Here’s When Experts Say It Might Be Better to Lie

Readers Are Leaders

Reading is an excellent method for improving your knowledge, vocabulary, writing, and reading, of course. Unfortunately, most people spend little or no time perusing the latest bestseller; in fact, the majority of individuals would rather watch television or spend time on Facebook. And no, reading Instagram snippets doesn’t count as “real” reading.

As a result, we are starting to observe the negative consequence in our young people: children are struggling with reading comprehension, many colleges are reporting first-year students are unprepared for writing assignments at the collegiate level, and evaluations have demonstrated that kids’ vocabulary is shrinking.

Parents must make a concerted effort to increase the amount of time their children spend reading outside of the classroom. Your child’s future is at stake. Furthermore, it wouldn’t hurt if mom and dad picked up a book now and again because kids are natural imitators.

So, teach your offspring that reading is an enjoyable leisure activity—something most adults appear to have forgotten. Purchase them fiction or nonfiction books. Have them read magazine articles. You could even rediscover the library together. Yes, you might have to limit the video games, but that is a positive thing.

Whatever is takes parents . . . whatever it takes.

Take Responsibility

Are you working a job you utterly hate? Do you have friends that give your enemies a run for their money? Is your boyfriend/girlfriend bringing you more grief than pleasure? More often than not, do you find yourself getting into arguments with those around you?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, it’s time you took personal responsibility for your actions. Stop pointing the finger of blame at others and point that finger at the person in the mirror.

Here are some onerous realities you need to face:

  • You are responsible for the job you have.
  • You are responsible for the friends you choose and keep.
  • You are responsible for the partner you select (see note below).
  • You are responsible for the squabbles in which you participate.

Note: Marriage is a sacred gift from God and should be preserved in all but the most extreme cases; therefore, never enter into a marriage without absolute commitment.

So, acknowledge your abysmal decisions of the past and make changes going forward. If you do not take responsibility for your situation, you will never progress in life. Part of being an adult is owning your mistakes and correcting them—without crying like a baby. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13 KJV).

I know what you’re thinking: Yeah, easier said than done, buddy. And I agree with you a hundred percent; however, nothing in life worth having is going to be effortless. To build a life you’re proud of will take blood, sweat, and tears. There are no shortcuts or free rides in this world. Everything comes with a cost.

How much are you willing to pay?