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Is This My Last Christmas? No!!! Death, Get Outta My Face!

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God Bless you and a merry, merry Christmas to you wonderful readers all around the

world.

And if it's not asking too much, I'd like each of you to email me right back right now

before you forget it if for no other reason but to say, "Merry Christmas and Happy New

Year."

Please. I need to hear from you.

This is my 65th Christmas. My dear mother, Sarah Loraine Sanders, lived only to

enjoy 43 Christmases and my father, Rev. Anderson Douglas Banks, Sr., lived only to

enjoy 63.

I had some serious concerns whether I'd see this Christmas when I was told in April

that I not only had end-stage congestive heart failure requiring a heart transplant to

assure me I'd live out the year, but that I also had brain cancer and prostate cancer,

which promptly disqualified me from being a candidate for the heart transplant.

But through faith, prayer (yours and mine) and the God-blessed care of doctors,

my wife, family and friends, here I am today singing, "Deck the halls with boughs of

holly. Fa la la la la la la la la. Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la la la la la" as well as

a host of other Christmas carols. I love Christmas carols. And my wife Joyce and I

celebrate Christmas for two weeks (from Dec. 2o to Jan. 3) and have raised our children

to do the same and to understand that Christmas is the mass for Christ. It's JESUS.

So, thank you Jesus!

I love winter. It's my favorite season, cold weather and all, because it is when we

celebrate on Dec. 25 the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. I love snowflakes

falling, chestnuts roasting, jingle bells ringing, fireplaces burning, carolers singing,

Christmas trees being lushly trimmed with dazzling decorations, colorful-wrapped

presents being exchanged and families fellowshiping.

Thank God for Christmas! Come on and shout it out with me, if you will. Thank God

for Christmas!!!

My most precious memories are those of past Christmases spent in my childhood

when our family--my parents, four brothers and three sisters--were all together at

home to celebrate this most blessed of holy holidays. My parents were poor, which meant

so were we children. We were dependent upon what the poor parisherners of the

churches my father pastored were able to give him in salary and special offerings. And

when our church members could not give him money, they'd give food and produce for my

mother to cook.

And my mother--have mercy!--was one of the best cooks in the history of the planet

earth. If daddy could catch it, whatever it was, mama could cook it. This includes rabbits,

squirrels, possums, coons, fish, ducks, geese, turkeys, peas, greens, beans, corn, okra,

sweet potatoes........

Despite our poverty, which included, yes, us fighting bill collectors, eviction notices,

rats, roaches, turned-off utilities, frequent hunger, cold, sickness and shame, mama and

daddy did the best they could to assure that we would have at least a little teeny, weeny

piece of a merry Christmas.

I remember my father crying a couple of times before the family prayer, apologizing

that he hadn't been able to do better for us that Christmas and emphasizing that Santa

Claus and presents and decorated trees were not the real foundation of a merry

Christmas anyway. Naw, naw, naw. It's Jesus.

I said, it's Jesus. Christmas is JESUS. He is the reason for the season. Jesus. I said,

JESUS. Close your eyes, if you will for one moment, and say with me, "Happy birthday

Jesus."

There would always be presents under our Christmas trees, which were sometimes

skinny and skimpy. Then there would be a box of fruit, mixed nuts and candy. Daddy often

would buy a great big ol' pepperment cane, which he or mama would break up and ration

out to us gleeful kids.

As time went by, death started dropping by our house uninvited and unwelcomed.

First, he took five of my infant sisters and brothers, including four who did not survive

the cradle to enjoy Chritstmas with us surviving eight. Second, he took our mother at

a young age and in a most painful way as she died in Mount Bayou, Miss., from blood

poisoning after her 13th baby died in her womb and she did not have competent medical

care to prevent this or to find it out in time to effectively remove the baby to save her

life.

Next, death took daddy. He died of a stroke. By that time, most of us had grown up

and moved out on our own to have families of our own. Only my older brother, Sonny,

who was mentally retarded from a childhood illness and my youngest brother, Hansel,

lived at home with my stepmother Mildred Johnson-Banks.

Death then took my oldest sister, Mrs. Maude Lee Burrell, who died of end-staged

congestive heart failure when she could not shake an infection to qualify for the

transplant, and then my brother Hansel, whose congestive heart failure was exacerbated

by alcoholism. He died of a heart attack.

Then came my health challenges--my brain cancer, prostate cancer and bad heart.

I could feel death trying to sneak up on me. I felt that I would be the next to go. But I

would not go without a fight.

When I was a boy, I was scared of death. When we got evicted from a house in

Indianapolis, a two-bedroomer where five of us slept in one bed, three at the head and

two at the foot, we had to spend some nights living in the church basement. I was so

afraid of that experience because I would be haunted by the memories of funerals that

had been held upstairs in the sanctuary.

But as I matured over the years and grew in faith and God's grace, I conquered my

fear of death and of dead people. It dawned on me that no dead person had ever called

me "Nigger" the way white folk did in his Mississippi boyhood. No dead person had ever

cursed me out, beat me up or threatened to cut or shoot me. So it dawned on me that

I should fear the living people instead of the dead people.

And since by the salvation of Christ Jesus, I have eternal life, there is no need for

me to fear death. For the grave is not the final resting place of the redeemed of the

Lord. We all have a home eternal in heaven, a building not made with hands.

So I conquered my fear of death a long, long time ago. I can look death in the face

right now, as I am doing, and say, "Death, in the name of Jesus, get the hell outta my

face!!!"

That's right. Yes, I said "Hell" because death makes me mad. Death punks too many

people around. But not me. Those people death bullies most are people with little faith in

God and little knowledge of the Truth that shall make them free.

Death ain't nothing but a possible bridge to heaven. It can also be likened unto a

short nap or a rest stop on the highway to heaven. But if Jesus comes back in the

rapture for His church while I'm alive, I won't even have to die. For I will be snatched and

caught up to be with Jesus for ever and ever more.

So death, I'm not afraid of you anymore because I got the victory and I have power

over the grave through Jesus Christ if I should have to go that way. So I'm not worried and

I'm not afraid. Death, get your ugly, cock-eyes, snagged-tooth, silly self outta my face.

You ain't (excuse me English teacher) nothing but a tramp while, in the name of

Jesus and by the grace of God, I am not only a champ, but I am more than a conqueror.

Death, get outta my face! I have dominion over you.

Death, get outta my face because if God be for me, and He is for me and in me, He

is more than the world against me.

Death, get outta my face because all things work together for good to those who

love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.

Death, get outta my face because the Lord is not only my shepherd and I shall

not want, but because the Lord is my light and my salvation. So whom shall I fear? For

I am persuaded that nothing but nothing shall separate me from the love of God, which

is wrapped up, tied up and tangled up in Christ Jesus.

Death, get outta of my face because I am providential private property; I am a

member of a chosen generation and a royal preasthood.

Death, get outta my face because I got Jesus and that's enough. And yea though

I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because I got

somebody in the Lord, who walks with me, talks with me and tells me I am His own and

His rod and His staff, they comfort me. And you best not let God have to hit you with His

rod or His staff. He'll kill you, death.

So, will this be my last Christmas? Well, No!

In the name of Jesus and by the grace of God, I declare unto you, my sisters and my

brothers, that there will be other Christmases in my life.

It's been a rough year for me. It's been the worst year of my life in terms of my

health issues. I've suffered tremendous pain and shame. I curse--yes, I am a preacher--

more than ever before because I am full of fury and of fight. But most of all, I am full of

faith. In other words, I am faithful. I know the Lord will not fail me nor forsake me.

Death, get the hell outta my face because God is hearing and answering my

prayers and at the end of the day, He will get glory out of all my ouches. Plus, I'm coming

forth as pure gold. And my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and

righeousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On

Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Death, get outta my face because It's Christmas. And for me, Christmas ain't a time

for me to be dying. It's a time for praise and thanksgiving. It's a time for new life and glad

tidings of great joy. For unto us, a child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the

government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called WONDERFUL,

COUNSELOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF

PEACE.......THE ROSE OF SHARON......THE LILLY OF THE VALLEY.....THE BRIGHT

AND MORNING STAR.

His name is Jesus, my savior.

God bless you and merry Christmas to everybody all around the world.

It's Christmas!

It's Christmas!

It's Christmas!

Hallelujah and thank you Jesus!

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64 Comments

MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU. MAY GOD ALWAYS KEEP HIS ARMS AROUND YOU AND CONTINUE TO GIVE YOU HIS LOVE,GRACE AND MERCY.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Great boughs of holly, Mary!! How quickly you rise and

bless me this morning with a most merry Christmas. Thank you. I pray you not just

more of the same but the bonus of a happy, wealthy New Year, too.

Merry Christmas! How wonderful of God to let you have this one with your family, friends and Blog community. Many Happy Returns of the Day.
Keep Praising - and if it's this year or whenever - Enter Into His Gates With Thanksgiving...


BANKS' RESPONSE: I feel a very merry, merry Christmas coming my way

today--maybe the best ever with all these greetings starting to pour in. Thank you,

Kelly. You are Special Greeting No. 1. God bless you and a merry Christmas and

Happy New Year to you, too.

Here you go, friend!!

A very merry Christmas and many Happy New Years for you. Health and happiness and, most of all, peace for you. And a great abundance that you seek as well.

I happily add my wishes and prayers for all of that for you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, John Powers, for being my Special

Christmas Greeting No. 3. May God open His windows in heaven and bountifully

pour out a merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I too, was diagnosed with cancer this year and read your blog entries for inspiraton and hope.

Have a happy and, most importantly, a healthy 2009.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you for reading this blog and for being my

Special Christmas Greeting No. 4. Brace yourself for a breakthrough 2009. Some

great needful blessings are headed your way. And when you get them, don't forget

to give God the thanksgiving and praise. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Happy Holy Days Rev!

I hope you and your family have a day filled with peace, blessings and love. And of course I wish good health to you this Christmas and ALL Christmases to come. I cherish your wisdom. Your prayers and your bloggers prayers combined are too much for the devil. We continue to make him a liar.

Peace and Blessings,

Donna

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks dead Donna for being Special Christmas

Greeting No. 5. You have been a wind beneath my wings from jump street and

you continue to lift me higher and higher. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

to you, too.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Harriet, for your holiday cheer. You are Special

Christmas Greeting No. 6. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your

family, too.

Preacher, I remember hearing you when I was a young buck of 18 out in Robbins, and had been an admirer of yours even before then. I listened to you sing, preach and pray and was totally blown away. Even when I started in ministry years later, that I knew not to try that singing part. You have been in the prayers of my daughters and myself since we first heard of your struggle. God bless you this Christmas and many more. Thanks for being an example.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Tommie for being Special Christmas

Greeting No. 7. I wish you and your family a most merry Christmas and Happy New

Year, too. I'm happy to hear that you are finally a minister, too. I just hope that your

hearing me preach played some part, no matter how small, in your answering

God's call. I'll be praying for your ministry that it will be most fruitful for God's

kingdom.

Lacy, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! When the Holy Spirit brings you to mind I pray for you. You are a blessing to me. "I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day; I don't borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray; I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said, and today I'll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand." God Bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Nancy, what a beautiful idea you chose for the right

time and for the right person: me. That is one of my favorite songs and its lyrics

articulate what many of us suffering Christians feel as we tend to our medical

issues by God's healing grace. You are Special Christmas Greeting No. 8.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I have been praying for your since I first read of your ordeal on the suntimes website. You are truly a testament to the power of Jesus Christ and an inspiration to your readers. Continued blessings throughout the new year!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Sister Thomas for being my Special

Christmas Greeting No. 9 on this most blessed day. I appreciate your prayers

always because we serve a God who hears and answers prayers and the prayers

of the righteous like you availeth much.

Holy Christmas and a Healthy New Year to you Mr. Banks. May God continue to rain his favor and blessings down on you as you go through this test in your health.

You can't have a testimony without a test and from reading your blog you are passing this test with flying colors. I will continue to pray for your healing and restoration. God Bless You!

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, merry Christmas and thank you

Lindasue for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 10. You are a prime example

that God is good all the time. For your encouraging comment is God's goodness

to me. And I accept your prayers not just for myself but for all my fellow sufferers

who are in this healing-in-process with me.


Merry Christmas, Mr. Banks!
I have been waiting for this post since you were so kind to reply to my comment on your last blog.
Here's to a very HEALTHY and happy New Year for you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much Ami for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 11. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Isn't God sweet? This has been a quiet, laid-back Christmas for my wife Joyce and

me, since all our kids are grown and have now moved out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May God continue to bless you and shine His face upon you. God bless your family as well. I will be praying for you. Thank you for your words of hope, truth, sincerity and of courage. You are a blessing to me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at the age of 36. I had to undergo two surgeries and 10 months of chemo and radiation. I am still here and going strong. As healthy as a horse now. I feel great. Back to working out and feeling great. GOD IS GOOD and real.

Love you and God's blessing....
Tammi Cherise

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks Tammi for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No.12. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family and I pray for

your complete recovery.

Lacy, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! When the Holy Spirit brings you to mind I pray for you. You are a blessing to me. "I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day; I don't borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray; I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said, and today I'll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand." God Bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks Nancy for being my Special Christmas

Greeting no. 14. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and your family.

You are turly an inspiration to us all. Many blessings for many Christmases to come!!!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much Ellen for reading my blog and for

emailing your kind words. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. You are my Special

Christmas Greeting No. 16.

Rev. Banks
What an awesome man of God you are. What a powerful testimony your life has become. God is still using you to reach the masses. To inspire them to seek Jesus. What a marvelous journey you've embarked. I wish I could reach out and touch you at this moment, to lay hands on one of God's great warriors, to extract some of your faith to implant in those who are feeling alone and hopeless at this festive time of the year. I know God is still in the healing business, he hasn't brought you this far to leave you now. Stay strong, stay focused, keep your eyes on the ULTIMATE prize, Jesus.
Merry Christmas, and I trust God's plan for your life, and you will be around in 2009, still praising the SAVIOR.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much Shara for your encouraging words.

All that I am and all that I have is because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, I guess we are warriors after all since we are soldiers in the army of the Lord.

Yes, God is still in the healing business and He's giving me a wonderful testimony in

that regard. You are my pecial Christmas Greeting No. 17.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr. Banks!!!! May GOD keep his arms around you and yours

BANKS' RESPONSE: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too, Milan.

Thanks for reading my blog and for being my Special Christmas Greeting no. 17.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Mr Banks...May GOD keep his arms wrapped around you and yours


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks Mac and may the good Lord bless you, too, with

a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. You are my Special Christmas Greeting

No. 18.

Mr. Banks, may you have a blessed holiday season and new year! You are always in my prayers, since I have been reading your blog for so long...May health be yours.
Sincerely, Margaret

BANKS' RESPONSE: Long life and good health to you, too, Margaret and a

most merry Christmas and happy New Year for bonuses. Thanks for being my

Special Christmas Greeting No. 19.

Hi Mr. Banks! Thank you for continuing to stay encouraged despite all of the personal battles. I thought I would send a prayer to you, since it appears to be my "gift." I hope it blesses you and gives you hope!

Father God, Thank you that your kindness, goodness and generosity are the reason for this season. What would we do without you? Where would we be without you? I thank you for rescuing me out of the pit I was in. I thank you that you understood me, knew me, and met me right where I was at in life. Slowly but surely over these years, you change me to be what you want me to be. I am so thankful!

Thank you for this brother, who continues to offer hope and encouragement to so many who are suffering. I can tell that as long as he is here on this earth, he wants to continue to be an encourager. I ask for the words for him to say to all of those who are in need. Many come to his blog looking for hope. Please fill him with the words to write. Let him not give up his strong hope, even on the days when he is in pain or feels crabby.

I ask for a spirit of gratitude and hope in his family. Let them enjoy you, Lord. I ask that they would feel closer to you now than ever before. Please inspire them all with your words and truth. Amen!

God bless you Lacy. Thank you for encouraging us. As the Word says, "You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."


BANKS' RESPONSE: What a bright blast of sunshine that you have just

shone on me with your fervent prayer. Thank you for being my Special Chritstmas

Greeting No. 20. Nerry Christmas and happy New Year to you, too.

Lacy, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! When the Holy Spirit brings you to mind I pray for you. You are a blessing to me. "I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day; I don't borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray; I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said, and today I'll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand." God Bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks Nancy for reading this blog, for offering your

kind, encouraging comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 21.

Merry Christmas to you sir. I look forward to reading your annual Christmas message of hope for many years to come.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks you, Matt, kind greeting and your expression of

faith on my behalf. Thanks, also, for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 22.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr. Banks!
May God continue to heal and bless you! I know he will, because he has done it for me. You and your family are always in my prayers. You are truly a survivor! I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share this journey with you. May God continue to watch over you and others in this difficult time.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Tanya, for being a survivor before me, for

reading this blog, posting your testimonial comment and for being my Special

Christmas Greeting No. 23.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr. Banks!
May God continue to heal and bless you! I know he will, because he has done it for me. You and your family are always in my prayers. You are truly a survivor! I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share this journey with you. May God continue to watch over you and others in this difficult time. You heard him "DEATh" Get Out of His Face!!!!!!!!!!!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, again, Tanya for this upgraded Special

Christmas Greeting No. 24.

Merry Christmas Sir, As David cried to The Lord and his prayers were answered so are yours...

Psalm 30:8-12 KJV

I cried out to YOU, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
"What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declaire Your truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!"
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Yvette, for that very timely, needful scripture.

It had to be the Holy Ghost who let you to it just for me. Thank you for reading the

blog, for commenting so generously and for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No. 25.

God bless you with many more years of Christmas!!! I have an Aunt with brain cancer. She was given 6 months to live 3 years ago..I have a dear friend with Mesothelioma (SP). We pray for him everyday. And everyday is a gift. I love your attitude and could not pass the chance to say..."Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!"

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Jan, for the revelations regarding your aunt and

your friend. But whenever you can, inspire somebody else besieged by health

issues just as you have inspired me. Thanks for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 26.

Pastor Banks:

According to your faith, let it be done unto yo! Believe the Report of the Lord!


BANKS' RESPONSE: That's why my primary prayer is that my faith be strong

and that my joys be full in the Lord. By faith through prayer, I am fighting the good

fight and proving that God is still healing. Thanks for being my Speciall Christmas

Greeting No. 27.

Joyeux Noel et Bonne et heureuse annee. Que Dieu vous benisse,

vous et votre famille, et vous garde en bonne sante. Il me

semble que vous etes une tres bonne personne.

Egbert Rousselle

BANKS' RESPONSE: Merci beaucoup, ma chere Claudette. Tu es si gentille

pour lire ma blog and pour donner moi votre comment si neccessaire. Merci

aussi parce tu es ma "Special Christmas Greeting No. 28. Joyeux Noel and Bonne

annee heureuse a toi aussi. C'est le premier temp que nous avons recu un

expression en Francaise.

Dear Mr. Banks,
A belated Merry Christmas to you...but then, any day is a good day to say Merry Christmas. You continue to amaze me with your exuberance and glorious outlook on life. I regret that I didn't have the oportunity to see you and hear you in the pulpit. I'm sure you had congregants on their feet in praise to the Lord and that praise continues in your writing today. I'm sure our Lord looks down on you everyday with love and appreciation for having such a devoted disciple. May God bless you and keep you close. Most sincerely, Patricia

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Patricia for reading this blog, posting a

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 29. Merry Christmas

and Happy New Year to you and your family.

May you have many, many more holiday seasons to enjoy, Mr. Banks. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us this year.


BANKS' RSPONSE: Thank you, too, Luella, for sharing right back at me.

That's proof that it really is more blessed to give than to receive, FOr the more we

give to others, the more others give back to us. Thank you, also, for being my

Special Christmas Greeting No. 30.

Continued Blessings to you for the many Christmases that will come your way Mr. Banks. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog because you are a source of not only inspiration but rock-solid faith!!! Our mighty God is using you to display His works, His faithfulness and His glory.

You take good care of yourself.

Dearly,

Cynthia Morris

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Cynthia Moris, for caring and sharing. You are

a wonderful expression of God's love for me. Thanks, also, for being my Specia

Christmas Greeting No. 31.

Pastor Banks, a very merry Christmas to you. I'm glad you take the entirety of the Christmas season to celebrate! My family tries to celebrate all twelve days of the season as well. Its a time for much joy.

I want you to know that your writing throughout this battle has been an inspiration. As the apostle Paul told us, we who believe live with a tension for being "at home in the body, but away from the Lord." Still, I hope that you continue to draw strength from your faith as you know that while all our days our numbered, the time we have given to us is for a purpose. I believe your writing and ministry are a purpose that I hope will continue to give us all hope and inspiration.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Matt, thanks so much for your wise comments, which

reflect a sound knowledge of fundamental Christian doctrine. Yes, I draw strength

from my faith for all endeavors and for all adversity. This sickness challenge is,

at its very core, a fight of the spirit and of one's faith, Thanks also for being my

Special Christmas Greeting No. 32.

I usually just breeze through headline and then go about my morning. But just maybe I found my way to this column today to read what an inspiring (and inspired, by God) person had to say. Accomplished in achievements and spiritually as well. You know that God saves the hardest experiences for the strongest.. not fun but true. And with that you persevere and create a message to send to more of God's people (which is everyone)
and instill hope in a time it is needed most.

What lucky people who are counted as your family and friends.

Merry (belated) Christmas and a very blessed New Year.

You are going to be just fine!


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Caroline for your encouraging words and

for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 33. If I can help somebody as I pass

along, then my living and my giving, my caring and my sharing, my pains and my

gains will not be in vain. I am as amazed and inspired by you as you say you are

by me. Your response provides definition to my deeds. Thanks for assuring that

they don't ring hollow.

Rev Bznks. I want to wish you a very Mery christmas. ( I hopte it was)but more so a Hapy New Year. The year 209 is going to be full of healing and joy and peace for you. Thank you for sharinvg your journey .

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Joan for reading this blog, for emailing your

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 34. Merry Christmas and a

happy New Year to you and your family.

Peace and blessings, Rev. Banks!

I truly hope your Christmas was enjoyable and a time for basking in the warmth of family, friends, as well as fond memories.

Your reminiscing of the good ole days (even though times were tough for your family) did my heart a world of good. We must continue to share those stories with the immediate family as well as others so we never forget where we came from. Even as we look forward to the future.

Thank you for your timely blog as well as your sharing of STRENGTH, HOPE, FAITH, and PERSERVANCE. Go on, go on, go on! Happy New Year! Happy New You!

Barb Sanders

BANKS' RESPONSE: Barbara, my brother, the Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks, and

his gorgeous, adorable wife, Alice, threw a soiree in their Kansas City Kansas

mansion Sunday night that was off the hook and straight out of the pages of

Charles Dickens. Roughly 30 merchants of mirth and merriment came and went

and we took tons of digital photos and I can't remember being in an atmosphere

so festive and so invigorating. My wife, Joyce, daughter Natasha, and mother-

in-law, Mrs. Emma Wooten, thoroughly enjoyed themselves in that good ol' time

way. This all did my heart good. Thanks for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No.35.

GOD BLESS YOU LACY!!!!
I wish you a belated Merry Christmas, and an early Happy new year!!!!!
It has been amazing and inspirational reading about your journey through life, and your battle with health issues. I have recommended your blog to anyone facing adversity. I love the fact that you call it Conquering Cancer. We should all have your attitude when facing tough situations and look with in ourselves to have the strength to conquer our problems instead of being overwhelmed. Thank you again for sharing your challenges and triumphs with us. Have a phenomenal 2009!!!
Stan

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Stan The Man In Demand, for again

reading my blog, emailing encouraging comments and promoting the site by

urging others to read it. Thank you also for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No. 36. A merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and your family and

friends.

Merry Christmas to You Mr. Banks! Even thought I'm 4days late. I am healthy 32 yrs mother of 2 with dreams and aspirations that I've put on hold due caring for my 4yr. old who was born 4mts early she's overcame death more times than I can remember so I know that our God is a miracle worker as well as a HEALER OF ALL!! Although my child has overcame so much and has been pretty healthy for 2yrs straight I still get down sometimes because things can be so overwhelming but your blogs are truly inspirational and has encouraged me to keep pressing and be the Mother to both of my children that God has called me to be. Know that you are in my prayers and always remember that God takes us through situations that are difficult to bear but the end result is always to His Glory. God Bless you Mr. Lacy and again MERRY, MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY, HEALTHY, HOLY GHOST FILLED NEW YEAR!

BANKS' RESPONSE: What a wonderful Special Christmas Greeting No. 37

you are and I thank God for you. I salute your calling to the motherhood and the

way you have fervently embraced this calling with thanksgiving, pride, love,

discipline and strong determination to be the very best mother you can possibly

be. This world starves for the likes of you. Merry Christmas and a joyous and

prosperous New Year to you and your family.

Rev. Banks,
I have glanced at your blog several times before and have always been encouraged by the fight that you have in you. I pray not only that you and your family had a Merry Christmas, but also that your New Year be filled with success, peace, solitude, and unimaginable healing, health and prosperity. I don't only pray that for you, but also for your remaining siblings. God knows the body that he has created; keep trusting Him!

Peace and grace be multiplied unto you!
Aisha

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Aisha, for reading this blog and emailing

such kind words of hope and power. Yes, your hope and your prayers empower

me in my drive to survive and thrive. Thanks for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 38. And it's never too late for me to wish and yours a merry

Christmas and a happy New Year.

What a wonderful blog. So glad you continue to do better. Enjoy the holidays and here's to having at least 100 more Christmas holidays

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Sonia, for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No. 39. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you and I really could enjoy at least 100 more

Christmases, especially if they were merry ones? In any case, I don't believe it's

ever too late to wish you or anybody else a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Amen and thank you for such an inspiring message.As aheart patient myself I found much strenght and encouragement in your message.May God Bless and keep you,because without you we(heartpatients)would be lost .Have a Blessed Newyear and stay encouraged.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Robert, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 40. I pray that you receive your complete recovery before I get mine.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

I wish you and your familly a bright, healthy New Year! I wish the best for you and find inspiration in your words. Thank you for being YOU!


BANKS' RESPONSE: With us still in the midst of a merry Christmas, I thank

you for wishing me a wonderful New Year and for being mt Special Christmas

Greeting No. 41. Thanks for reading my blog and I pray God blesses you with the

best year of your life in 2009.

How powerful and uplifting you are! It is awesome to know that there are true Christians who, in the face of adversity, constantly sing the praises of Jesus. It is so easy for us to be pleased with God when things are going good and oh, how quickly our faith diminshes when we struggle! Thank you for showing us that praise is valid and due Him at ALL times. My prayers for your continued strength and faith.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much Tammalynn for being my Special

Christmas Greeting No. 42. Your words are so true. It's easy to praise God when

times are good. But when times turn bad many of us turn doubtful and spiteful and

impatient like spoiled children.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It's inspiring to hear such words of hope when many would find it so easy to be discouraged. May you and your family be filled with peace, love and laughter as you ring in the new year!

BANKS' RESPONSE: You are so right about hope. It has become an

endangered species in these tough economic times when record numbers of

people have lost their jobs, homes, health insurance and credit and conditions

reportedly will get worse before they get better. Top leadership in our government,

our major corporations and our top financial institutions have failed us on almost

every hand. So if I can profile hope in how I am weathering my individual struggles,

then to God be the glory and the thanksgiving. Happy holidays to you and thanks

for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 43.

Praise GOD From whom all blessings flow!!! I am happy to hear you are
winning your battle. He fought his battle for 17 yrs with prostate cancer. My father has crossed the bridge and is in his
heavenly mansion. He passed last dec 24, 2007. I was holding his hand
, my brohter was with him one night during this time and my dad waws
talking to the Lord, "you mean I can have any of these that I chose,
(mansions) my brother said that my dad said to the lord I Chose this
one!! So I know that he is fishing in heaven with JESUS as we speak.
SOmetimes it is difficult to accept because GOD has given me the gift
of healing and I knew that before he was at this last crossroad, I
prayed and he prayed and the church prayed our family prayed but ultimately GOD is in
control. I sometimes wonder why GOD Didnt heal my Dad through me
but I still have to give him the glory because my father passed with a
smile and he is and was a GREAT man who love GOD and he taught me to
love GOD to. MAY GOD HEAL YOU BY HIS STRIPES IN JESUS NAME!!

Brother in Christ,

Phil

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Phillip, for reading my blog and for emailing

the wonderful testimony about your dear father and how memories of his battle

remain clear, near and dear to you. Some may call his 17-year battle a relative

victory within itself. His prostate cancer failed to register a quick kill as it does with

sp many of us. Here's wishing the best of the holiday season to you and thanks

for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 44.

God bless you Lacy. I was told at 30 that my heart wouldn't last another week and surely not enough time to receive a heart transplant. With prayer chains and family by my side, I survived in Intensive Care for 2 1/2 months! It will be 14 years since I received the gift of life from a very loving Mother who lost her 18 year old Son and I thank her and God everyday for this gift and for what ever time God will grant me. May you be blessed with much peace and miracles in 2009. The miracles do happen :)

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks for being My Special Christmas Greeting No.

45. What a wonderful testimony you shared with us about the blessing of a new

heart that you received 14 years ago. We thank God for your miracle and the way

He has blessed mankind to advance in medical technology sufficiently to save

more lives through organ transplantation. Please, continue to give God the glory

and the thanksgiving for as long as you live.

Merry Christmas...and a very Happy New Year!!..May God bless you and your family!!

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Erica, for reading my blog, for emailing a

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 46.

Lacy,
Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year!

My family is going through a similar situation as my father has been diagnosed with cancer. We're all scared and are praying things work out well.

Your story is an inspiration and I want to wish you health and happiness in the upcoming years.

BANKS' RESPONSE: May God having healing grace and mercy upon your

dear father and you are taking the right first steps through prayer and faith in God.

Surely, God is able to heal and to roll all burdens away if to Him we pray. Thanks

for reading my blog and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 47.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Jamie, for being my Special Christmas Greeting

No. 48 by reading my blog and emailing your comment. Merry Christmas and happy

New Year to you, too.

thank you so much for your blog posts. they have been such an encouragement to me and my family. my mom was diagnosed with stage iv pancreatic cancer in august, and only given a few months to live. things have been so tough, but reading about your strength and faith has been truly inspiring. God is good.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, all the time, He is. His goodness is reflected in our

existence and our ability to call upon Him in the time of need and get needful

blessings. I pray that God gives your mother the healing she seeks and that when

He does she will make known His works among the people. Thanks for reading

my blog and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 49. The best of

the seasons' greetings to you, too.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a blessed 2009. I happened upon your blog this New Year's Eve morning, and as I believe everything happens for a reason, will take with me the wonderful inspiration of your entry. Your message undoubtedly reaches thousands, what a wonderful holiday gift! You will be in my prayers and thoughts.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Well, well, well, Sensational Sallie, thank you so much

for reading my blog in the wee hours of this New Year's eve, for emailing your kind

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 50. Your well wishes

are falling on my hungry heart with blessed relief. Great is God's faithfulness unto

me through the lush, lovely likes of You, Sallie. And allow me to extend the best of

season greetings to you and your family.


Praise the Lord and pass the butter! Your message touched my heart. It ain't over til its over. Were not God and we don't have God's timetable. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!
Have a blessed year,


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Brother Love for being my Special Christmas

Greeting no. 51 through reading my blog and emailing your encouraging comment.

And you can believe it that I'm going to rejoice in the Lord for the joy of the Lord is

my strength. I find comfort, I find relief and release rejoicing in the Lord Jesus, the

rock of our salvation. The best of season's greetings to you and yours.

This is the day which the LORD has made. We shall rejioce and be glad in it.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Becky, for reading this blog, for emailing your

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 52. We are thankful for

each day because, good or bad, it is a day that He has made. And at the end of all

days, all things will work together for good for them who love God and are the

called according to His purpose.

Wowee - what a trooper! Congrats on your hope, faith, and strength! For those three are keeping you alive and well. I do research for the #1 pediatric cancer hospital in the U.S. and it's so amazing to watch little miracles running around and your attitude mirrors the attitudes of the little ones.

Nearly losing my life to a battle with meningitis at 13 months was enough for me to truly feel blessed by the Grace of God for I am honoring and praising Him each day I live. My PeePaw was also a baptist pastor and has amazing poet and writing skills...so maybe I can get the courage some day to write columns like you and him to share the true meaning of life :) Last year, the 'elite' Doctor was 90% sure he had lung cancer (he doesn't smoke)...and he went into surgery telling the doctor "let's not leave out that 10% with Jesus". Instead of removing 3/4 of his lung...the biopsy showed no cancer cells!! Isn't it amazing how much faith plays a role in healing :) I found your inspirational column by chance...just researching columnists and how they write...you are amazing and I'll be thinking of you and your family as you start a fresh year!

May God Bless you and your family as the New Year begins!!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks you so much Tiffany for stumbling upon my

blog in what turns out to be a successful treasure hunt for you since you say you

are impressed and inspired by the blog. What a mighty God we serve as

evidenced in the faith feats of your dear father and of your own miraculous

recovery. How exciting it must be for you to have a ringside seat to countless

miracles as an health care professional. Medical science can take us only so far

and then God simply moves directly in spire of the limitations of medical

technology. Thanks, also, for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 53. I pray

you had and are still having a merry Christmas and also will have a happy New

Year.

Merry Christmas (a little late) and Happy New Year to come!I was looking at the headlines here at work (don't tell!) and saw something about a last Christmas and had to check it out. So very glad I did. What an uplifting and inspiring message! Thank you.

May you and your family have a wonderful, blessed new year. You are truly right - always rejoice in the Lord!

The best to you and yours,

Ali

BANKS' RESPONSE: As far as I am concerned, Ali, it's never too late or

too early to wish me a merry Christmas because all Christians have reason to

celebrate Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving every day of our lives. Thanks

for reading my blog, for emailing a comment and for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 54. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you, too.

Lacy,

I just now found your reply to my suggestion back in September about the baking soda. (I told you I'm computer-challenged!) I am glad to know you are alkalizing, and that the cancer is in remission. I had been wondering how you are doing, so I am glad for the positive update!

I had wanted to send you some emails that I have, though, that have much more information about this subject. For one thing, they go into more detail about raising the pH level even higher initially to really zap the cancer cells, then dropping down to the healthy level. I received them from a friend who beat "terminal" cancer without a drop of traditional cancer treatment.

In reviewing my earlier message to you, I realize that I must have written it right before our email address changed. (When a power surge took out our phone line and internet, we switched to cable internet.) So if you wrote me for those emails, I didn't receive your request. (I'm so much more familiar with emailing than blogging!) If you (or any of your readers) would like those emails, that are just full of information about beating cancer and other debilitating diseases, please email me at this address: bestparadisefound@gmail.com. (I'm giving my web-based email address this time just in case!)

God bless you, Lacy!

Linda

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Linda, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting. No. 55 and for keeping up with my blog. I like to feel that my following

your alkalizing suggestion with baking soda has helped me and others faving

health challenges with cancer. But I must add that I find the taste of my Arm and

Hammer baking soda has a refreshing taste when I take the power straight on

my toothbrush or via teaspoon. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you,

Linda Gracy, and your entire family.

Mr. Banks:

Thanks for an insightful article which I read today, 12/31/08. God bless you and may you have many more holidays to celebrate with your loving family. Unfortunately, my oldest sister, experienced a stroke and it was a stressful Christmas day for us but we are thankful she was with us and not in her apartent in Florida alone. I sincerely pray for your complete healing and I appreciate your article on death which was expressed in a way that is rarely done for the fear of it.

May God continue to enfold in light and love as you experience your highest good in health and wealth in this new year!

Sign: Jean (Georgia)


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Jean, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 56. I pray that your sister receives complete recovery from her cancer

before I do. And remind her to thank and praise God when He does heal her.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year ti you and your entire family.

Dear Mr. Banks:

Thanks for such an insightful article on death which was done in such a way that is rarely ever seen. May you continue to experience the healing power of Spirit as you enjoy the next new year. Just think! You have lived long enough to see an African American be elected to be the next president of America. What a feat!

During the recent holidays, my sister had a mild stroke and we are thankful that she was with her family and not home alone in her apartment. I plan to share with her your article written about death. Thanks for this wonderful contribution!

May God's shining light forever be upon you and all those around you. Just know that you are part of healing power which restores and reenergizes every cell, muscle, fiber and organ in your body. I look forward to reading more insightful articles in the new year!


Much thanks again!

In unity and love,

Jean (Georgia)

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Jean, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting no. 57 by reading my blog and by emailing your encouraging comment.

I pray that your sister have a compete recovery from her stroke. I pray, also, that

you have a happy New Year to go with your merry Christmas.

Dear Rev. Banks

I first heard you preach at Sunrise Baptist Church, where Rev.Billy Jones was pastor. I knew that I was in the presence of an anointed man of God, in the presence of Greatness.

Following your journey through this wilderness has affirmed my initial impression. I am encouraged,inspired and embolden by your witness. Your living testimony to God's miraculous healing power has benefitted me so much. Happy New Year and the Best to You.

Sincerely,
Nancy Ellis


BANKS' RESPONSE: In Rev. Billy Jones, Nancy, you have a mighty man

of God, a distinguished son of Fellowship and one of God's truly Holy-Ghost

anointed preachers. He was among the very first to give me opporunities to run

revivals for him years ago. He remains one of God's highly respected ministers.

Thank you so very much for reading my blog, for emailing your encouraging

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 58.

Pastor Bank,
I often wondered what does one say to encourage a Person of your Statue, I just want to respond and say May God Continue to Bless you with as Many More Christmas' as he has for you. I truly look forward to you blogs in 2009 please keep the readers updated.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Kimberly, for reading my blog, for emailing

you encouragement and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 59. I also

wish you and your family a merry Christmasn and happy New Year.


Oh my, your story was so beautiful and alot of what you said I could most identify with. You are definitely going to be alright, your faith alone is enough to move mountains. Im a nurse and alot of what physicians say is based on statistics and the "norm". Physicians are human and no one knows their final hour. After hearing bad news, most people simply give up; but not YOU!!!!!!!!! You are so beautiful and I DEFINITELY wish you and yours A VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR AND MANY MANY MANY MORE TO COME FOR ALL OF US, GOD-WILLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


YOUR FRIEND,

SHARRELL

BANKS' REPONSE: Thank you, Sherrell, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 60 and for emailiing your kind comment. Merry Christmas and happy

New Year to you and your family, too,

Hi Mr. Banks,

I've been a fan of your columns for many years. I read your blog entry on Christmas Day. I didn't leave a response then, but I left the browser open to that page ever since. You have been heavy on my mind all during the holidays. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you much health and happiness in the new year. Faith is a powerful healer. God bless you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Robert, for reading my blog and for posting

your comment to be my Special Christmas Greeting No. 61. Merry Christmas

and Happy New Year. I bless God for giving you the spirit of Christmas giving,

which you are exercising right now. I pray good health and long life to

you and your family.

God has blessed you kinfolk,
It's been a rough year for us both, my wife survived cancer this year and the loss of our best friend and I lost my mother in October to Alzheimers.Pardon the "cliche" of what doesn't do us in, makes us stronger. My you be stronger in the New Year and God Bless you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Tyrone, for reading my blog, for emailing your

comment and for being my Special Christmas Greeting No. 62. I pray that your

wonderful wife receives complete recovery from the Lord and that you, too, get

an increase in faith to see her through that recovery. By the grace of God, your

wife and I are definitely warriors in our fights for full recovery. Thank God for His

healing powers.

Merry, merry, and x-mas and now a very Happy New Year to you and your family. In addition, to the people who are less fortunate as well. I myself am truly blessed for my wife and the reading of your article on a frequent basis. I myself have difficult times as being that I had a heart attack at an early age. Still in my mid 30's but I push even as my body does not necessarily want to. Thank you for inspirational words that give me the motivation to keep myself going. As a matter of fact today is 3yrs to the day since I was in intensive care and a reminder to thank god I'll be here to see that clock go from 11:59 to 12:00! God Bless to you all and be safe!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Joe, for being my 63th Special Christmas

Greeting. I thank God for your recovery from your heart attack and I urge you to

never cease to continue praising and thanking God and testifying of His grace and

mercy. He saved you for a reason, a good reason. You are still another example

of His healing handiwork. There are many people who need to hear you tell them

that a heart attack does not mean the end of life or the end of happiness and

hope. They need to see you as a living proof that God is still healing and blessing

people to survive heart attacks, strokes, cancers and whatever other health

challenges that people are destined to face. Through your example, and through

mine, also, they can face these challenges with supreme hope because our God

is omnipotent and can make the quintessential difference between life and

death. Happy New Year, Joe, thanks to the grace and mercy of God.

first happy new year, second God bless you,

BANKS' RESPONSE: May the good Lord also bless you lavishly with a happy,

healthy and wealthy New Year. And thanks, Jean, for being my Special Christmas

Greeting No. 64.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on December 24, 2008 10:45 PM.

I'm Tired And Weary But I Can't Quit Because God Is Still Working On Me was the previous entry in this blog.

Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross And Life Will Be Fine In 2009 is the next entry in this blog.

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