2009 was, for many, a year of difficulty and challenge. The evidences of hardship, despair, and clinging to God for hope during it all can be seen in several places, including our list of the most-clicked-on Faith content we published. What you wanted to read over the past 12 months involved encouragement, prayer, improvement, trust... and the practical ways to achieve them. It's not that doctrine, theology, and evangelism became unimportant, there were just clearly some needs to be met.

We thank God for the opportunity to have been here, to have hopefully assisted in meeting just a few of those needs with articles like those below.

12. Don't Lose Heart
by Cliff Young

Abstract: Oftentimes, we aren't able to comprehend how the Lord is working and why. However, just because God does not work according to how we think doesn't mean He does not hear our prayers nor care about our situations.

Quote: "A number of years ago, a very committed, dedicated and faithful couple in my church had a daughter whose life spanned only a week due to complications associated with undeveloped organs. After a week of fervent prayer, we as a church had so many questions as to why God would allow this to happen to such faithful servants of His. We later found out close to thirty family members and co-workers of the couple came to know Jesus through their child's short life. Was that God's purpose for the life of that child? Is this what God had planned in the midst of their grief? We may never know for sure; we just did what we were called to do: pray."

11. Five Difficult Steps for Overcoming Sin
by Dr. Chuck Betters

Abstract: The Holy Spirit, not a New Year's resolution, is the Agent of meaningful transformation in our lives.

Quote: "As you struggle for freedom from sin patterns you will be tempted over and over again - consider keeping a detailed count of the number of times you are tempted for the purpose of tracking progress. It is NO sin to be tempted. We sin the moment we take a small step in the direction of the sin (rather than running away from the temptation). We sin the moment we hesitate from turning away from temptation. Again, to track progress, consider keeping, and reporting, a count of the number of times you actually sinned."

10. Trusting God's Timing 
by Greg Laurie

Abstract: I have discovered that God's timing is just as important as God's will. In fact, the Bible talks a lot about timing.

Quote: "Moses was a leader in training, but he wasn't ready yet. He had lost his people. He had lost his reputation. But he had not lost God. What looked like the end was actually the beginning. Forty years later, God appointed Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. What Moses did not realize was that God had been preparing him during that time. Notice what God said to him: 'I am the God of your fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' (Exodus 3:6 NKJV). What was God saying? I am the God of ordinary men who have accomplished some extraordinary things. There is hope for you. I am not just the God of Abraham. I am not just the God of Isaac and Jacob. I am the God of Moses. I am calling you. I am giving you a second chance. God still uses ordinary people today. Even people who have made mistakes. Even people who have sinned."