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May 2009 Archives

THANK YOU JESUS!!! DEATH THREAT TONED DOWN.

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God bless you.

I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Allen Anderson, on Thursday at the University of Chicago

Medical Center. My wife, Joyce, accompanied me.

"I am pleasantly surprised," Dr. Anderson said, after carefully listening to my heart

through his stethoscope, and after his nurse had given him my blood pressure reading of

98 over 68. "You're doing better than you were earlier this year when you were here in the

hospital (March 12-17). Obviously, you are doing a better job of taking care of yourself. I

can't see any reason why you shouldn't be able continue the way you are indefinitely and

stay on your present medications."

And as for that death sentence, when he and other doctors felt my chances of

living out the year were slim if I did not have a Heartmate II ILVAD pump implanted

to replace my defective and failing left ventricle in pumping blood throughout my body?

"We can't really say how long you can live without that pump," Dr. Anderson said.

"Your heart is still weak and the pump will still help you tremendously. But we don't like to

give out any numbers regarding how long you can do without it."

Well, no way will I give myself any credit for any improvement or for the fact I at

least haven't gotten worse. My wife deserves some of the credit for doing her best to try

to take care of me. She is my primary caregiver. I also have to give credit to you prayer

partners, who have been touching and agreeing with me on the desires of my heart for

a total healing of my end-staged congestive heart failure, my prostate cancer and my

brain tumor, which has been ruled benign. This healing journey is 13 months old now.

But the real credit, the thanksgiving and the glory belongs to my Lord. On my own,

I am not even worthy to still be alive today if my life was based on moral merit or on my

eating right, exercising everyday, losing excess weight and keeping my mind stayed on

Jesus 24/7.

My sicknesses have exposed primal weaknesses and desperation in me. I have

been occasionally harassed by a mild fear of dying. But it is very, very mild because my

soul is anchored in the Lord. My desire to live is far, far stronger than my fear of dying.

And my desire to live has been tremendously rejuvenated by God through His grace,

through the stripes of our crucified Christ, through the power of God's Holy Ghost and

through the love of my wife and others.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not yet totally healed. My heart is still weak. It is not

pumping my blood efficiently at all. My mitral valve is still defective. My left ventricle is

still grossly enlarged or dilated. I still get shortness of breath if I exert myself too much

physically. I still have a very sore lower back problem that prohibits me from walking or

standing more than a few minutes without pain despite my having received two

epidural cortisone shots within the last five weeks.

Occasional mental fatigue resulted in my having my first auto accident in about 30

years three weeks ago. I was dozing in rush hour traffic on I-294 south and rear-

ended another motorist resulting in thousands of dollars of damages. But thank God

that nobody was injured.

I am still deeply depressed over my middle daughter, Noelle, a single mother and

a devout Christian, losing her job and facing the prospect of losing her home, taking her

son Caleb out of a private Christian school and moving in with us when her unemployment

runs out if she can't find another suitable job soon.

The Chicago Sun-Times, for which I have worked 37 years, has declared

bankruptcy and we employees have taken a nine percent pay cut and agreed to take

eight days off without pay to avoid additional layoffs and to help our paper survive these

turbulent, tough times of our nation's woefully ailing economy. i the process, a lot of

good people were released into the growing multitude of the unemployed.

But thank God that I'm still holding on.

Thank God that my wife and I still have our jobs after seeing so many co-workers

and loved ones lose theirs.

Thank God that we still have some decent health insurance.

Thank God that we still have a home to live in, cars to drive, food to eat and clothes

to wear.

Thank God that we still have a reasonable portion of functional, enjoyable health,

despite some aches and pains and serious sicknesses.

Thank God that we still have sense enough to say "Thank you, Jesus!!" because

if it had not been for the Lord on our side, where would I be? Where would you be?

Where would we be?

Most of all, thank God for Jesus!!!

And right now, I'm still on life support in terms of depending upon God's grace and

leaning on the everlasting arm of Christ Jesus.

Just because I got a good report Thursday and just because that medical death

sentence has been retrieved does not guarantee me that I will still live out this year, this

month, this week, this day or this hour.

Is anybody listening to me out there?

Can any of you declare unequivocally that you will survive this very day regardless

of how young you are, how strong you are, how good you feel or how great a report

your doctor gives you?

No, you can not. So-called healthy folk still drop dead of instant heart attacks after

allegedly never having been sick a day in their lives. Or we could die at the hands of

other humans or through some accident or natural catastrophe.

So, again, I want to take this time to say "Thank you, Jesus," and say it in front of

the world. All that I have and the best that I have ever been and ever hope to be, I owe

it all to my Jesus. He died for me on Calvary. He shed His blood as a remission for my

sins. And because I believe His gospel, I am redeemed in my spirit even though I am

dying in my flesh, as we all are, day in and day out.

I'm just glad that I have life beyond this life and a home beyond this home. I am so

glad that I know Jesus as my savior. I am so glad at how He has preserved the

Sun-Times down through the years, where we went to owner to owner and naysayers

counted us down and out again and again and again. I thank God for good people to

work for and good people to work with.

I pray that God blesses you one and all, my dear readers. I pray for the rest of you

who are hurting in some way or another. Times are going to get far tougher in our nation

than they already are because of bad leadership in the past and continued political

corruption to this very day. Good, hard-working, innocent people are going to be

destroyed economically. And many of us who have are going to have to share with the

have-nots.

Meantime, I just thank God that I'm still alive and that I have the blessed assurance,

like Job, that I know that I know that I know that MY REDEEMER LIVETH!!!!

I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH!!!!

And I thank God that I'm still alive to scream it to the highest heavens to anybody

who cares to know.

God bless you.

God bless you.

Yeah, I had a fight with doubt the other day. It kept messing with me. So I had to

cuss it out and kick its butt.

Every now and then, every child of God has to fight the good fight of faith and fight

against the principalities of evil. And one of their chief imps is doubt.

As children of God, we are ordained and anointed to walk by faith and not by sight.

Sometimes, sight gets in the way of our blessings. Sometimes, sight leads to fright, which

triggers flight. Sometimes, we freak out over what we see. And when we stop believing

God and start doubting because of what we see or what some naysayer said, it puts us in

hot water with the Lord. And believe me, you don't want to be in hot water with the Lord.

If you don't believe me, then ask Nimrod, ask Pharoah, ask Belshazzar, ask

Nebuchadnezzar or Jezebel or Ahab or Zimri.

Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE, read my writing, IMPOSSIBLE!!! to please God.

For he that cometh to God must believe that He is. Yes, first and foremost, before you

get to the unequivocal litany of facts like He IS a doctor in a sick room, He IS a lawyer in

a court room, He IS a bridge over troubled water, He IS a rock in a weary land, He IS a

shelter in the time of storm, etc. Just believe that HE IS.

Yes, God IS. He just IS. For no particular reason. He IS.

God IS. And within the ISNESS of almighty God lies the totality of reality. Thank

you sweet Jesus, rock of my salvation and savior of my soul!

When God called Moses for a job interview on top of Mt. Sinai, the other day, told

him to take off his shoes and socks because the ground he was standing on and the

God he was standing before were too holy for him to be shodded, then spoke to him

through a burning bush and hired him to become the great emancipation instrument for

Israel's exodus out of Egyptian bondage, Moses asked for God's credentials.

Moses felt that once he'd stand before great, big, ol', mean Pharoah and tell him,

"God said to let my people go," that Pharoah would want to know who God was.

So Moses asked God, "Whom shall I say sent me when Pharoah asks me who

You are?"

Well, if you read the same bible I read, you will see where God said in Exodus 3:14,

"Tell him that I am sent you."

And just in case we still want to know who "I am" is, God simply broke it down even

more by saying, "I am that I am."

Yes, God Is. We must believe that He is. And once believing that He is, we can

take it just a little bit further. Among the many, many things that He is, He first and

foremost is a rewarder of them that dilligently seek Him.

That's why, brothers and sisters (and by now it should be apparent to you that

Rev. Lacy J. Banks has sneaked up on you preaching), we are compelled to tell every

sinner man, woman, boy and girl, "Seek ye that Lord, while He may be found. Call ye

upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the ungodly man his

thoughts and turn unto the Lord. For He will (if we dare repent and ask for mercy)

abundantly pardon."

So I had a fight with doubt, that dastardly chump of a tramp. He dared to invade

my mind with sayings like, "What's taking you so long to die, Banks?" and "If God ain't

healed you by now, don't you know that he ain't goin' to heal you?" and "Man, don't you

feel like a fool praying and praying and blogging and blogging and waiting and waiting

and you still sick and in pain?" and "Aren't you afraid that by going public with your blog

that you are going to end up looking like a fool when God doesn't heal you soon?"

Yeah, these are some of the thoughts that doubt sent knocking on the door of my

sub-conscience. Yeah, there was doubt up to its old tricks again, trying to conquer my

soul, trying to steal my joy, trying to strangle my hope and trying to get me to give in,

give out and give up.

But I knew who doubt was imping for. He was simply serving as an evil emissary

for the devil. So I went ghetto on him. And anybody who knows ghetto anger, knows that

ghetto anger can get mighty fierce because of the mess we have to fight against to stay

alive can be pretty strong. So we fight strength with strength, flesh with flesh and spirit

with spirit.

God wants us to be well, but the devil wants us to be sick.

God wants us to live. That's why He sent and gave Jesus to die that we might live.

But the Devil wants us dead.

God wants us to be happy. The devil wants us to be sad.

Doubt tried to corner Christ Jesus in the wilderness after He had prayed and fasted

for 40 days and 40 nights. Doubt tried to get Jesus to serve Satan and perform tricks and

miracles at Satan's behest.

But each time, Satan tried to slug Jesus, Jesus blocked Satan's punches, bobbed

and weaved and then counter-punched Satan punch-drunk with the Word of God. Then

when Satan started really getting on Jesus' nerves and Jesus got sick and tired of the

devil's mess, Jesus told Satan, "Get behind me." In other words, Jesus told Satan in

modern street lingo, "Man, you'd betta get the heck out of my face! I ain't playin' witchu

now! You betta leave me 'lone 'fo' I hurt you!"

Satan was cruising for a bruising and Jesus bruised him up real good.

And so it is that I also had to tell doubt to get out of my face and leave me alone. I

had to hit Satan and his doubt upside their heads and punch them out with the word of

God. It is the same with you, my sisters and brothers of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes,

we have to stop being so nice to Satan. Sometimes, we not only have to put out feet

down, but take one foot and kick Satan in his butt. For we are winners and not whinners.

For we are more than conquerers. Thank you, Jesus! I said, and hear me real good, we

are more than conquerers through Christ Jesus. And we ought to act more like it more

often.

As redeemed children of God, we don't have to take any of the devil's mess any

more. As redeemed children of the most high Lord God Jehovah, we don't have take any

lip from Lucifer, any more. Naw, baby, we are more than conquerers through Christ Jesus.

We are a chosen generation and a royal priesthood and a holy nation. And we can do all

things through Christ, who strengthens us. So thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory

through Jesus Christ our Lord. For greater is He that is within you and me than he that is

within the world.

So I had to tell the devil to get behind me. I had to put my hands on my hips and

lash Lucifer with my lips and let him know in no uncertain terms that I join Job in

vowing, "I believe I'll wait until my change comes......For I know that my redeemer liveth.....

and though He slay me yet will I trust Him"

Yeah, I had to give doubt a piece of my mind which I got from Christ Jesus in the

first place because I let the mind that is in Jesus be in me. I'm talking about Jesus Christ,

the author and the finisher of the very faith I need to please God and the very faith that I

need to wield power over the devil.

Too many of us let the devil get away with too much in our lives. Too many of us let

the devil punk us around and whimp us out. Too many of us allow ourselves to be

intimidated, manipulated, humiliated and annihilated by the devil and his demons. And

here we are packing power to defeat the devil and keep him at bay. Here we have at our

disposal the instant heavenly deployment of angels, who have charge over us to

deliver us from evil. But oh what peace we often forfeit and oh what needless pains we

bear? All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

So I had to tell the devil to shut up and get somewhere and sat his butt down, and

to stop messing with me before I hurt him. Yes, you and I have the power to hurt hell

with the word of God. But we must believe the word, speak the word and do the word.

I know the Lord is going to heal me one way or another, somehow or other, sooner

or later. I know that He is healing me now. Though I sometimes will have some bad

days, my good days outnumber my bad days. My pluses outnumber my minuses. My

victories are overwhelming my defeats.

So no matter how long it takes, I am going to wait upon the Lord and be of good

courage and He is already strengthening my heart. I'm going to wait upon the Lord. For

they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings

of eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint.

So wait on Him! Wait on the Lord with me, please! Wait, I say, upon the Lord!

God bless you.


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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