My Devotional – Healing for Your Grief

One of the most moving scenes in Scripture is Jesus weeping at the graveside of Lazarus. It’s not that He was powerless to change the situation, which He did, bit that He empathizes with us in our time of loss. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The Lord didn’t promise to protect us from pain and loss, but to bring us through it. Perhaps these suggestions will help:

1. Don’t isolate – Expand your “family.” “better a nearby friend than a distant family” (Pr 27:10 TM). If you don’t have a family nearby, reach out to caring people who are close at hand. As part of a group you discover that you’re not alone, that mourning isn’t sickness or self-indulgence, and that sharing brings healing.

2. Don’t deny your loss – “The memory of the just is blessed” (Pr 10:7). When you’re around friends don’t hesitate to talk about your loss. When you do, you’re saying it’s okay for them to share their memories too. A burden shared is a burden lightened.

3. Don’t try to do it all – “There is a time to cry” (Ecc 3:4 NCV). Because grief is draining, you’ll need more rest than usual. So while your ability to function is reduced, let others help with the everyday stuff like cooking, cleaning and shopping until you feel stronger.

4. Don’t neglect your legitimate needs – Respect your body by using the acronym D.E.E.R. (drink, eat, exercise and rest) to help you stay focused and set healthy boundaries. Nobody knows how you feel better than you, so give yourself permission to say, “no thanks” or “I’ll take a rain check” without feeling guilty.

I hope this devotional message is inspirational to you.

Where Are America’s Wealthiest Communities?

If you aspire to the good life, you’ll find company in these three areas where wealth is concentrated.

Want to know where America’s richest people live?

Between 2006 and 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau tracked where the wealthiest five percent of Americans are living. Defining high-income households as those that earn about $200,000 a year and above, the Census Bureau determined that the greatest concentration of wealth is in three main areas. These three areas are located near, but not directly in, large metropolitan areas along both coasts.

New York suburbs

According to Forbes, while New York City, NY, boasts the largest amount of wealthy residents of any city in the country, the concentration of wealth is higher in the surrounding suburbs of Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford, Connecticut. These areas are located along Long Island Sound about 60 miles away from the city. Here, nearly 20% of residents are considered wealthy.

What draws so many rich people to this area? For one thing, there’s proximity to the city. The Fiscal Times also notes that it’s a lower-tax region.

Silicon Valley

California boasts the nation’s largest population of billionaires, so it should come as no surprise that you’ll also find plenty of wealthy people living in the Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area outside of San Francisco, CA. This area is also known as Silicon Valley and is home to many of the world’s technology giants like Apple, Google and Hewlett-Packard — plus thousands of start-ups.

Unfortunately for the wealthy, it’s also home to some rather steep tax rates. The rich in Northern California can expect to pay about 12.3% in taxes versus the 6.7% rate that wealthy residents pay in Connecticut.

Washington, D.C. suburbs

Back on the East Coast, the third-largest concentration of wealthy Americans is settled around the Washington, D.C., metro area in the Virginia suburbs of Alexandria and Arlington. In these northern Virginia suburbs, 14% of households represent the country’s highest earners. The economy here has been shaped by proximity to the nation’s capital, and the majority of residents either work for the government, the military or for private companies that contract to the federal government. In Alexandria, for instance, the biggest employer is the U.S. Department of Defense.

Curious about the opposite end of the spectrum, as well? The southeastern states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana reported the lowest concentrations of wealthy residents.

For more details, check out the Census Bureau’s complete report: