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...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

I'M NOT AFRAID TO DIE. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

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God bless you.

Since doctors told me 17 months ago that I have end-stage congestive heart failure,

prostate cancer and a brain tumor, not one day has passed without me thinking about

death and seeing myself dying from one of these serious illnesses.

Yes, I'm still praying to be healed of these sicknesses. I'll never give up and I thank

all of you prayer partners for continuing to touch and agree with me on the desires of my

heart for those healings.

At the same time, because I am a practical man, as well as a preaching man of

faith, I'm not sitting idly by, waiting for some cataclysmic healing to drop from the sky.

Rather, I take about 30 pills a day for these illnesses. And when pill-taking time

comes, I spread the proper pills out on a table or counter and I remember why I am

swallowing each one. I take them because I am a very sick man who wants to live and I'm

doing my best to take full advantage of every blessing available to keep me alive.

The deaths of celebrities this year remind us again and again that no earthling is

going to get out of life alive. While the death of Senator Edward Kennedy sadden all

men of good will, it's not too surprising because we knew that he was had been fighting

brain cancer for a year. Plus, he was 77 years old.

Neither was it that shocking when historian John Hope Franklin died at age 94,

network news anchorman Walter Cronkite died at 92, actor Karl Malden died at 97,

humantarian Eunice Kennedy Shriver died at 88, former defense secretary Robert

McNamara died at 93 or guitarist Les Paul died at 94. These dears souls were up in

years.

Famed Michael Jackson, one of my all-time favorite entertainers, shocked us all

when he died young at age 50. But the circumstances of his death now help us to

better understand why he died so young.

Meantime, while I am no longer young at age 66, I am not really old, either, by

today's standards that include the best medical care so far ever available in human

history. Even better, I am blessed to be gainfully employed and have access to this care.

If this care had been enjoyed by my immediate family members, my oldest sister, Mrs.

Maude Lee Burrell, would not have died at age 66. Or my father Rev. A.D. Banks at age

64, my youngest brother Hansel at age 51, my mother at age 43, my premature

twin sons or my five other sisters and brothers at infancy.

Like all of you, I want to live a longer, meaningful and enjoyable life. But I'm no

longer afraid to die like I was when I was a boy. Death doesn't bother me because I've

already lived 66 sensational years. Death doesn't bother me because I've already seen

three daughters become distinguished ladies with college degrees, including one with

a Christian husband and four children and another a Christian single mother with one

marvelous son.

I'm not afraid to die because I have already enjoyed many other priceless

blessings.

I have seen, hugged and kissed five grandchildren.

I have known the fiery love and sweet companionship of Joyce, my high school

sweetheart who has been a perfect wife for more than 41 years.

I have been blessed to work my way up from eating neckbones to eating T-bones.

I've been blessed to rise from a Mississippi cotton picker earning $3 a day to

being sports reporter for this newspaper and a preacher earning almost 100 times that

much.

I casted one of the votes that elected America's first black President.

I marched in civil rights demonstrations with Dr. Martin Luther King.

I was the first person in my immediate family to get a college degree.

I've preached in more than 100 Chicago churches alone, plus churches in Kansas,

Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania,

Michigan, Arkansas and California during the last 57 years.

I've set foot in 35 American states and I have vacationed in England, Mexico,

France, Germany, Holland and Canada. I've been mightily blessed.

But the main reason I'm not afraid to die is because I have a savior in Jesus Christ.

And because He is my savior, I have a permanent home for my soul when this life is

over.

If I had my choice, I'd rather die quick and easy, preaching God's gospel in some

pulpit or wherever. Because of poor medical care and racial prejudice, my mother, Sarah

Lorane Sanders Banks, died suffering excruciating pain over several days after being

poisoned by a dead infant she was too weak to deliver.

I was 11 years old at that time. They called me home from running a revival in Cape

Gerardeau, Mo. She was dying in a hospital bed in Mt. Bayou, Miss., an all-Black

town and an all-Black hospital. I got there just in time to see her smile through incredible

pain a day before she died. I was mad at the world. Especially the white world and the

Mississippi racism that conspired to deny her better medical care. I've grown beyond that

rage. But I still hate racism and I still hurt when I think of how my mother died so young.

Yes, I want to live. I have so much to live for. I have loved ones to live for. I have

causes to live for. I want to do what I can to make this world better for everybody and to

help suffering people everywhere.

I want to live badly. But because of my faith, I declare unto you all that death, for me,

is a win-win situation.

Doctors still tell me that I need a heart pump or a heart transplant or both if I am

to live out the year. Daily pains are making me agree with them, unless God heals me

first.

I have become a reluctant daily companion of unwelcomed pain. All kinds of pain.

Stinging pains. Burning pains. Aching pains. Acute pains. Dull pains. My arms and legs

are growing weaker and my finger tips scream, through stinging sensations, for their fair

share of circulated blood.

Three weeks ago, I underwent a back surgery to relieve me from extreme pains in

my lower back. Pains persists in my left groin and left legs. But I am blessed to be able

to endure these pains and to enjoy far more positives than negatives. I am still able to

preach and work. I am still able to encourage others to fight for their lives. And I say

unto you, sisters and brothers, fight. Fight for your lives. Fight for your love. Fight to

love and be loved. Fight for the good of all mankind. Fight for every breath and for every

heartbeat until.........

God bless you.

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38 Comments

I continue to keep you in my prayers. Your blog has been an inspiration to me. I marvel at your persistence and strength in keeping it up. Your family is truly blessed to have had your spirit among them. You are so right, we must continue to fight just as Sen. Edward Kennedy fought and you are fighting now. God's love, peace and mercy be with you and your loved ones as you continue to fight the good fight.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much, Patricia, for your words of comfort

and encouragement. One can never overdose on the prayers and kind words from

well-wishers. And God has a sweet spot in His heart for the likes of you. What you,

and others like you, are doing is, among other things, real Christian ministry. You

are part of the medicine that heals. God bless you for reading my blog and for

e-mailing your comments.

Good Evening Mr. Banks. I am at a lost for words. With all due respect,this sounds to me like you're throwing in the towel.Don't give up. "You will not go under, you will go through." "If you are defeated in the mind, then you've already lost the battle." A pastor once said " Hope and Faith, we can't have one without the other. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for." "Hope is to be able to see beyond where you are, and to see where you are about to go. "Hope gives you a motive and a reason to keep on living when everthing around you is falling apart." "Hope can keep you alive when nothin else can." I heard another Pastor say, "When you're at your weakest and darkest hour, thats when God does his best work" He also stated that, " Did you know that the light shines the brightest in the dark." Now thats a shouting moment. Mr. Banks, can I pray for you? Almighty God, I come into your presence as a sinner. Please forgive me of all my sins that I am concious of and those that I am not. I pray that you will cover Mr. Banks from the crown of his head to the soul of his feet. I pray that you will continue to bless his home,family, finances,heal him of all of his afflictions, bless his enemies, because "when a man ways pleases the Lord he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. I pray that Almighty God will " Guide you as he guides the sunrise and direct you as he directs the stars. Thanks for continuing to share and being a blessing with your healing journey. God Bless.

BANKS' RESPONSE: What a moving and marvelous e-mail, Jacqueline

Hastings. Thank you for taking precious time and energy to inspire me in my current

calling. Your inspiration is not misspent. I have not given up in this fight against

my sicknesses. I have not thrown in any towel. In the long run, I am in a win-win

situation. In the short run, I have faith that God will deliver me in and from these

three health challenges. And despite the pain and weakness, I am having a ball

fighting to live and praising God in this blog. Sure, we all are going to die sooner

or later. But I believe that my death will not be a result of either my brain tumor,

my prostate cancer or my end-stage congestive heart failure. These are just pot

holes in my road to eternal life. Thank you for your prayer and be encouraged

through me that because I'm saved I've already won in a landslide. I am more than

a conqueror through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

HI I JUST READ YOUR BLOG FOR THE FIRST TIME. IM PRAYING FOR YOU KEEP YOUR MIND FOCUSED ON THE HEALER AS YOU GO ABOUT YOUR TREATMENT.I KNOW THAT HE DOES HEAL I WAS DIAGNOISED LAST YEAR IN MAY WITH STAGE FOUR METASTIC BREAST CANCER> THIS YEAR JULY 20TH THE LAB REPORTS CAME BACK NO CANCER! NO CHEMO OR RADIATION> I WAS ON A PILL TO SHRINK THE CANCER.IT SHRANK TO NOTHINGNESS I SUPOSE ALL I KNOW IS THRU MUCH PRAYER THRU MY CHURCH AND A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE:THE CARE OF MY FANTASTIC DOCTORS AT MT SINAI HERE IN CHICAGO I AM ALIVE AND HEALED MAY GOD BLESS YOU EVELYN JONES

BANKS' RESPONSE: Way to go, Evelyn. Not go run and tell that. Tell it

wherever you go. God did not heal you for you to keep it a secret. So many people,

who are where you were or are headed there, need to hear your testimony. Never

pass up an opportunity to give God His deserved glory and thanksgiving for

bringing you through. So keep blessing His wonderful name. And God will keep

blessing you in the process. We, the redeemed of the Lord, are commissioned

to make known His works among the people. Sure, doctors and nurses played a

part. Sure, medicine played a part. Sure, relative, friends and prayer partners

played a part. You acknowledged this. But first and foremost, it was the Lord who

healed you. So go run and tell that. Satan doesn't like it. Naysayers and atheists

won't like it. But that's their problem. You just go 'head on and rejoice in the Lord,

Evelyn. Tell the world that God is still in the healing business and you are a

living witness that He is because He healed you.

What an inspiration you are. God Bless you and thank you for your words which I needed to hear.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Cindy. But, most of all, thank Jesus. For all

the good that ever comes of my bad, all the wonderful things that God does to me

in times of trouble, is because of Jesus. Yes, it's Jesus, Cindy. Pure and simple,

it's Jesus. My every breath. My every day of survival. My every speck of progress

and conquest. It's all because of Christ Jesus. Even you e-mail, Cindy. Your

taking time to reach out and touch me with your prayers and well-wishes. It's

Jesus to me.

It is a double edged sword to read your words. I understand your reasoning of not fearing death when faced with a sickness that is on a timer. I am in awe that you came out publicly to share your stories... your life... Death is something that happens to ALL of us... No matter where we come from, what color or religion we are. It is feared by many but when faced with it, for some reason I noticed people forget their fears and welcome it.
My mother did this last December when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She faced it. She never had one treatment of chemo or radiation.
She talked to each one of her 5 daughters and 9 grandchildren. She made us all okay with knowing her end was near. She didn't wait til she died to start giving things she owned away... We all watched as she smiled looking through photos, birthday cards, jewelry and personal items saying who should have what... She told us what she wanted as a memorial... She talked to us and made us feel better that we were losing our mother but gaining an angel.
She died 6 months after being diagnosed. She died at home with ALL 5 of her children next to her. Gracefully.
If I am ever faced with knowing my time is near, I want the courage to be like my mother and you. I believe her death was so graceful and peaceful because she welcomed the doors to be opened to her... She welcomed "going home."
Thank you for sharing such beautiful memories, life experiences and your personal life. I pray that you get through this... which ever way God has planned.
I will forever remember you when I think of facing death, Mr. Banks... May god bless you and your family.

Sincerely,
Kari Burns

BANKS' RESPONSE: Dearest Kari, as I read your e-mail, I felt the fire of your

dear mother's fervent love for her life, her family and friends burn wonderfully in my

own very blood. What a powerful and sweet relief and release she manifested in the

courage and kindness through which she faced her death. And when I meditated

on my reaction, I realized it is because I feel a cosmic kinship with her. What a

woman! What a lady! What a heavenly masterpiece: your mother! Hers is the stuff

of magnificent myth and fantastic fantasy ,but for the fact it is a real-life story. It

is a testimony and how a loving heart and rich spirit can empower one to gracefully

and marvelously face what otherwise is an ultimate agony. She steels my will to

fight for life while, at the same time, not looking at death as some great defeat or

failure. For all mortals, death is the inevitable, ultimate exit. But the way your

mother refused to run, hide and seek sanctuary in sorrow and solitude is the

greatest example of going out in style. What a priceless parting profile! What a

woman! What a lady! What an angel: your mother! If one, including myself, seeks

a precious primer on how best to die, one needs only consider your mother. I can

think of few who died with at least as much class. Our savior, Jesus Christ, of

course, heads the list. Then there are other religious martyrs who departed the

world thinking of comforting others rather then doting on their own demise. Hers

was not a selfish death. It was a generous and comforting one to us all, making

us praise and prize her life even more. She had to be as precious in her living as

she was priceless in her dying. As such, she is not dead to those of us with a

loving and caring heart. She lives on as a monument of mortal magnificence.

What a woman! What a lady! What a wonder: your mother!

Mr. Banks, you started your blog off with 'God Bless You' and that says a lot about the kind of man that you are...I return this to you and say may God bless you! It sounds like this world has been made a better place because of you being here. God has truly worked through you and continues do so even today.

My heart goes out to you for so many reasons and at the same time, your testamony puts me in a place of even deeper shame than I already live in. Am I afraid to die? No. I would welcome it but it seems that I am here for reasons that I cannot see. I probably should be afraid of dying, but I just keep making things in this world worse, not better like you have. It seems as though I fail at everything that I do...and am tired of trying to 'fix' everything esp when there is no positive change.

Mr. Banks, I am a 3 time cancer survivor and remember the fight. I know that I survived each one only because of God. I did a lot of praying and others prayed for me too, which brought me so much comfort. I also remember the distict feeling that while I continued to live and talk and walk here in this world (I am a single mother of 3 that desperately needed me as we have no others), but a deeper part of me was with my Lord...finding peace, making amends, looking for meaning. Something I have longed for in my life is that when my time comes that He will say "well done my faithful servant" but when looking at my life know that that won't happen.

I first met Jesus when I was 7-years-old. Introduced while visiting my grandmother at Easter. We went to her Catholic church and I asked why all of the beautiful statues where covered in purple cloth. And she told me. Then I told my little sister and we cried that He was so cruelly hurt and killed for the likes of terrible little children like us. We then cried ourselves to sleep for the next 3 nights. But as we were no longer staying at our grandmother's we could not get anymore information and that guilt just sort of stayed within me. Eventually, our partents sent us to a Baptist church (my step father was an atheist and my mom was just mad at God though she did make her peace a year before she died). It was here that I accepted Christ as my savior, but did nothing with it.

Then about 4 years ago I started to work under an observant Jewish man. He is the most honorable that I ever knew in my whole life. And through his faith, I began to reexplore my own. I started to read the bible from beginning to end. In the old testament, my love for God took over my life. I didn't want to stop reading what it said. I found a church and hearing the word and singing worship songs I found myself crying. Literally crying every single time I went to church. I can't explain what was going on all I knew is that something was happening that I couldn't explain. I would look at the others there and they weren't crying. I just wanted to keep praising Him. Through reading the word and hearing it in the service, I was being told things that I had never known! It was all I could do to not shout to them 'did you hear that? Did you hear what He said? Jesus came that I may be saved!" It took me 2 years to finish reading and then I got to Revelations. I still haven't finished that last few verses. I can't. It says that only 144,000 will be saved. And while Jesus said that if I ask Him He will come into my life that I may have life everlasting, He also says that He came that the old law would pass away and a new one, one that is bound by love, you still have to 'go and sin no more' and I can't seem to stop that. Sinning. I can't follow the rules. So I know that I won't be one of the 144,000. I won't be admitted.

In my life I was molested as a child, had my father leave, got a step father that liked to use his hands or other objects and his mouth as weapons, a mother that was so overburdened that she could not even look at us, tried to give me up for adoption and told me during my 2nd pregnancy that the reason we never got along is because she never wanted me, married my childhood sweetheart who could not leave other women alone, moved out of state, divorced me and signed his rights away to our children, was raped, had cancer 3 times. So, in answer to your question, am I afraid to die? No. Did you mean, am I afraid to die and go to hell, no. It feels like I am there already. As I live through this, I have all the faith in my soul that God and Jesus are willing and able. It is not a question of 'can he....', I believe He can, the question is will He... and that, I have no faith in. I am not like you Mr. Banks. I have no qualities like you to give to anyone here and though I try, I have nothing to give to God. I have tried my best here and the only thing that saddens me is that when my time comes and I finally look at His face, a thing I have longed to do since I was 7 but not sure that I will be able to raise my eyes because I think I will see the sadness in them that I wasn't stronger...more loving..more obedient.

I know how self-centered this sounds and is, but I hope that you will accept my prayers and well wishes for you and yours. I have had many angels in my life and I think you are another one. Thank you for sharing your story.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Roberta, what a most moving, riveting, heart-touching

short story of your life. You have been striped by countless heartaches and

hardships. I can imagine the rivers of tears that you have cried night after night

and day after day. Adversity has worn you raw and beaten you to bits. But out of

all your sufferings, I hear heaven's most joyful revelation coming to the rescue of

you and all the world's other hurting people: Jesus saves. For unto us, a child is

born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon His shoulder. And

His name hall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlating

Father, the Prince of Peace. For such sufferers like you, Jesus came that we might

life and that more abundantly. He came to heal the sick, comfort the sad, befriend

the lonely, mend the broken heart and set the captives free. What a match that can

only be made in heaven: Jesus and you. How impressed I am with your humility

and tender heart. Believe me, I am not so grand as you suggest. I, too, have

sinned, still sin and will sin again as long as my sanctified soul is wrapped in my

corruptible flesh. The bible says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of

God." That's why Jesus HAD to come, because He was the only perfect sacrifice

that could be offered up as payment for the sins of all repenting sinners. And

please, don't sell your sanctified soul short. You are saved despite your sin

because Jesus shed His blood as a remission for our sins, died on Calvary as

payment for our sins and then arose from the grave Easter Sunday morning to

assure us victory over the power, the penalty and the presence of sin. So you are

saved, Roberta, not because of your works. But because of the work of God, who

so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,so that whosoever

believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. All because of Jesus,

who made it possible for sinners like you and me to be excused from our imperfect

works. That's why salvation is a gift to be received, rather than a work to be

achieved or to be purchased by silver and gold. Be encouraged that God is pleased

with your outstanding humility and penitent spirit. Thank you for your prayers and

we pray for you, too, Roberta. Lord, have mercy and grace upon Roberta, in Jesus'

name, so that her life will be richer and her joys full. Amen.

My mother died of cancer some years back when we was in her early 50s. I had recently graduated from college and my sister was still in school. She missed by sister's graduation by 2 weeks. The lesson that I learned is not to put much thinking into beating or losing to the disease but making the most out of everyday. Being upset just wasted what time my mother had left. Find things you enjoy that you can do and do them, even if it is nothing more then watching tv or seeing the sun set. Put your energy into enjoying the moment. I am sorry that you are having to go through this.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you for reading this blog and for e-mailing you

kind and comforting comments. May our Lord God bless you real, real good.

Rev. Banks,
Even facing your own mortality, you have amazing courage and determination to live. I pray God hear your prayers and heal your body to continue being a voice for the voiceless, and an inspiration to those fighting health afflictions and battles as yourself. You have truly displayed remarkable resilience in your struggles. I marvel at your faith, perserverance and buoyancy. I know prayer changes things, and I'm anxiously awaiting the day, you write of God's amazing grace in touching your body and delivering from the depths of despair. Keep getting your praise on, because when praises go up, blessings come down!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Truer words were never spoken or written than your

e-mail. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dear Rev. Banks,
God bless you! I have been keeping up with your blog although once again, I missed commenting on the previous one about your problems in receiving the best of care during your back surgery. It reminded me of all the battles God fought through me during my husband's many hospitalizations. At one point I was jokingly dubbed the "pit bull wife", with hospital staff giving me that "look" when I arrived to visit him. I wore that moniker proudly then and still do when situations require it. (-: I admit I was pretty upset that you had to fight the very people tasked with helping you get better and that's why I couldn't write. See, the Master is truly maturing me and I'm getting much better at dealing with anger in a more positive manner. I prayed even more for you.

To answer your latest question, I'm not afraid to die, for all the reasons you've given in your responses to other comments. To my knowledge, there's nothing wrong with my health that might indicate my day is coming anytime soon, but because I believe His Word that says we know not the day nor the hour, I must stand on His Word that Jesus died for all our sins, past, present, and future. Guilt is a tool of the enemy and I flat out refuse to allow it to be used against me. Because of my own personal "cross" I've battled depression off and on for some time. I know what it feels like to be in what seems to be a deep dark hole and feel unable to get out. I know what it feels like to want to go to sleep and never wake up. Praise be to God, I have been delivered out of that hole and He wakes me up every morning, a brand new mercy!

He's doing that for you also and I know that you have completely submitted your will to His. I pray that when it's time for any of us to go home to Glory, that we ALL know and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, that we've shared that message and our testimony with as many as God has enabled us to influence, and that our loved ones will let us go gracefully and joyfully, firm in the knowledge that they will see us again.

God bless you again and again and again!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Every time I am hospitalized, my wife Joyce spends at

least one night with me and helps watch out for me to make sure I am getting the

best of care to the best of her knowledge. Thank God for your vigilance and

diligence on your husband's behalf whenever he was hospitalized. It means so

much when the hospitalized has relatives and friends looking in one him and

serving notice to the hospital staff that the patient is not alone and means a lot to

a lot of people. This way, when things go wrong they won't go wrong in a

vacuum and can be easily ignored or swept under the rug of oblivion and

insensitivity. The attentive, caring presence of relatives and friends also is also a

medicine in itself for the patient. It also helps that a patient's friends and relatives

express interest in the patient's progress and seeks to know what exactly is being

done to the patient, who is doing it, when it's being done and how it's being done.

Thank you so much Marie for your continued prayers and encouragement.

Dear Lacy -

What a wonderful life!

As always, I'm holding prayers and good thoughts for the perfect outworking of this situation.


BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, John, life is wonderful, isn't it? Even with its ups

and down, its good times and its bad times, lits glad times and sad times. Life in

its entirety good to them who love the Lord and are the called according to His

purpose.

Mr Banks! Hello! I am so sorry to hear of your illness. I will put you in my prayers and my prayer partners will also. I often think of you especially when I smell grape candy. I worked at a small candy store called Grecos. I remember a man who stood out among my many customers and our chats we had. I remember this because of how you presented yourself.I remember you. I had never read the sports section of any newspaper so I didnt know you from your work . I admired you and your devotion to your family and your work. I wanted you to know that I feel deeply honored to have met the person behind the print. Stay strong and continue the fight. Your work here is not finished.


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks for remembering Tanza. Obviously, you take

your customers seriously enough to remember them years later. Apparently, you

also have a photographic memory. I also remember your cheerful spirit, which was

your joy of the Lord. Grecos serves some great candy, too, and your prices have

always been super. I was very sad when the owner closed the store on Halsted,

because it was much closer to my home. The closing forced me to have to drive

10 miles farther to buy my giant gourmet chocolate-covered raisins, giant turtles,

grape suckers and other grape-flavored treats. But the candy and the prices made

it all worth my while. Thanks for reading my blog and for e-mailing your kind words

and encouragement.

God Bless you Lacy, I will pray for you on a daily basis the same way I pray for my father's healing by that debilitating disease they call cancer. Just like yourself, this past April my father found out that the prostate cancer he thought he beat a few years ago with surgery, has now metasicized into his skeletal system throughout his body and even to his skull. However just like yourself he fights the good fight and remembers why he takes all those pills and receives his treatments. At age 80 he fights everyday so that he can see his grandaughter graduate from college in 2 years and become a teacher, and his grandson graduate from high school in 3 and be accepted by a great institution that he can help pay the tuition for. I want to tell you that news of your illness has saddened me because I never got the chance to meet you in person and thank you for all those years I read your column and bringing a smile to my face whenvever I agreed with you and for the debates you caused whenever I disagreed. But although we never met, your style of writing makes me feel like I know very well. I wish you "nothing but the best" as my Greek immigrant father would say, and I will pray for a speedy recovery so that those daily pains go away for good and allow you to continue to live the blessed life you have known. Thanks again Lacy, and God Bless you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you and your dear father Basil. His fight

gives you a birdseye view of what I'm going through. I commend your father's

supreme primal instinct to survive and thrive. There is nothing like our serious

sicknesses that make us get in tune with God and also in tune with our bodies and

mind. I pray, in the name of Jesus, that our Lord God Jehovah heals your father

completely so that we will have a fresh, brand new testimony to assure the world

that God is still in the healing business. All we have to do is have faith in God to

do something, prays for the something in the name of Jesus, get what we prayed

for and then give God the glory and thanksgiving.

Dear Lacy,

I've been thinking about your latest entry ever since I read it the other day, and have come back to it tonight. I read again the injustice of what your dear mother had to suffer in her last days because of the obscenity of racism. It's never totally comfortable for me to read such things (how could it be for anyone?), as I am Caucasian. I'm going to be 55 years old next month. And like you, I remember.

I remember when African-American men had to wear signs to remind this country, "I AM a man." I remember sitting in my living room and seeing the confusing images of what was happening in Mississippi and Alabama. I can recall seeing incidents with a vague similarity in my own neighborhood. I distinctly remember the bulletin, breaking into the regular programming, reporting the death of Dr. King, and I remember thinking that we had lost someone vital. I remember how freely the "word" was used in my neighborhood. As a child, I thought it was a legitimate word, until I said in front of strangers and was told, "We don't say that." That was my first brush with hypocrisy. From that, I learned that I had a choice: I could believe the casual prejudices about an entire group of people; I could treat them as a monolith; or I could take the measure of each person, regardless of their skin tone, as I met them. I've made an effort to do the latter. And I'm glad I did, for I would have missed some fascinating, wonderful people if I hadn't.

Nevertheless, I must tell you, it is hard sometimes not to feel the shame of what some of my people did to some of yours. And I'm so sorry for the injustice and the indignity you, and others like you, have borne because of prejudice and ignorance.

Some, on either side of the color line, may resent my remarks. Some will say, "It's White Guilt;" others will say I betray my race. I'm not guilty, but it does make me sad. I don't like all black people. Nor do I like all white people, red, yellow or brown people. It's not required that I do. But my God requires that I love all. I am part of the one race, that called "human". And we all have but one Father, and He is in Heaven. However, that doesn't stop me from feeling a profound sense of regret that so many good and decent people had to suffer needlessly. I have seen the power of apology and the seeds of forgiveness and good will it can sow. For whatever my words here are worth, may that blossom and grow. It cannot change the pain that was, but you should know that it did not pass unnoticed.

When you go, dear Sir, you will leave a world, although still imperfect, that is thankfully very different from the one you entered. You, regardless of your ethnicity, will have distinguished yourself in this world as a journalist, preacher, husband, father, son, grandfather, friend, and, perhaps most importantly, an example of one who chose to let his light shine. And you will take with you the grateful prayers of many, many people, of all backgrounds, colors, and beliefs, who believe that God loves each and every one of us equally.

Dear Lacy, I hope, as you do, that your life here continues for many years to come. As for your life to come, we already know that will last forever.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I share your position that the one race we all ought to

esteem and live our best to be a credit to is not the Black race, not the White race,

not the Yellow or Red race, or the Brown race, but the HUMAN race. Obviously,

I am not a German. But on behalf of the human race, I abhor what the Germans did

in their efforts to exterminate God's chosen people, the Jews, from the face of the

earth. So, while this may appear odd, I apologize for what the Germans did to the

Jews and non-white people to include Blacks. I apologize to the Chinese,

especially those in Nanking, for the atrocities done by the Japanese. I apologize

for the barbarity of the English against the Indians, despite the fact many Indians

detest the "untouchables" in their own race. I apologize for the horrible crimes the

White settlers committed against the Indians. Whenever and wherever we see

evil being done to one race, it is being done to all races who comprise subdivisions

of the human race as a whole. Even in the Black race, some segments of Blacks

are butchering other Blacks on the basis of religion, economy, politics or

whatever. In the name of ethnic purity, members of many races are slaughtering

members of their own race. Racism is an ethnic sin in the raw. And some hideous

hypocrites promote it even in the name of God, which is a blasphemy meriting

capital punishment. W.E.B. Dubois so rightly predicted that the biggest problem

of the 20th century would be the color, or racial, problem. We have made and

continue to make great progress in bringing together people of all races in peace

and love and brotherhood. For all human ills, love is the best medicine. Love

heals not just the body, but the mind and soul. As I seek my total physical healing,

I also pray for the comprehensive spiritual, social, political and economic healing

of all mankind.

I pray that God may keep you in His graces, wherever this road may take you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Andrew, and may Bod bless you with the best.

Good morning Preacher! The Lord has blessed us with another day filled with His Grace and Mercy. How can any of us be afraid to die when we have been given promises of Glory. First I want to see Jesus! Then all my loved ones. I've often heard people pray to just get in the gate. Lord, I want to sit at His feet in my long white robe, yeah, it's something to look forward to. But while we are here, we must pray for one another, love one another and listen for Him tenderly calling. I've been sort of confined because of the condition of the air (pollen, weed, etc.) but my GOD is good and enables me to accept my limitations with grace. I thank God for you and all that you are doing for so many of us and I thank you for not being selfish and keeping this all to yourself. So many people respond to you and their writings have been blessings as well. I pray for God's continued blessings for you and family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Oh how picturesque those sweet visions of heavenly

splendor. Jesus' promise of providential paradise drives us to strive, survive

and thrive until we either go to sleep, which mainstream mankind calls death, or

until Jesus comes back in the rapture for His church without spot or wrinkle. Oh,

sure, Gwen, robes in this corruptible flesh, we often get anxious and frustrated

ask the Lord under our breath, "Oh Lord, how long?" Indeed, the rapture can not

come any too soon for the redeemed of the Lord. Especially when we've been

'buked and scorned. So we all long to see Jesus. We all long just to behold His

blessed face. That inevitability makes everything bit of pain and suffering worth

our while. So we don't mind crying some times. We don't mind bearing heavy

burdens in the heat of the day. We don't mind being confused, misused and

abused so long as after we have gone through all these trials and tribulation, we

can see our Savior Jesus' face in the end and also hear Him say, "Well done, thy

good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things. Sit down and

rest a little while. I will make you ruler over many." Until then, we most pray for

and comfort one another as best we can. For, really, in terms of God's eternity, it

really won't be long at all until Jesus comes. That's why Andre Crouch wrote in

song, "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King, Soon and very soon we

are going to see the King. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, we're going to see the King. In the meantime, I pray for, in the

name of King Jesus, for God to grant you relief from the discomforts of your

allergies or whatever else ails you. God bless you, Gwen.

Rev. Banks

Just stopping by to reaffirm for you..It's not over until God says its over. You still have another sermon yet to be preached, You still have another song yet to be heard. You still have another miracle yet to unfold. You still have another hug for your beloved Joyce and you still have faithful readers as myself, waiting on the day you write of God's miraculous wonder working powers. God is still manifesting Himself in your life. He's a marvelous counselor, the unseen host at every meal. He’s the silent listener to every prayer. His grace surrounds you, His mercy sustains you, and your faith is a testament of His love. Just know, you are victorious in the name of Jesus. You are knocking down all the barriers standing in your way. You are a free spirit, for whom the Son sets free he is free indeed!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Jesus lives! That's really the gist of your encouraging

e-mail and my continuing mission. For those who thought men killed Him with the

crucifixion and put Him out of business, they had better rethink their thuggery. I am

living proof, you are living proof and we are living proof of His resurrection. He

lives and he's still feeding and leading and saving sinners to the utmost. And when

you reach out to encourage me and others who are sick, you are some of His

medicine being applied to our wounds. He lives and we thank God for giving us

the victory through that same Jesus. He lives to erase all doubt and to assure us

His redeemed that He indeed is coming back again for us.

Rev Banks,

Reading your blog so very touches my heart. My boyfriend has also been diagnosed with cancer and he is getting it the second time around. I have been tremendously depressed over the past months trying to grasp the severity of his condition. It has drained my emotions and I have been perpetually in tears. If he has been healthy, we could have even walked the altar. But the sickness has come in our way and in a big way. Out of this situation, he has chosen to let me go although I wanted to stick with him through this difficult ordeal. I don't know what else I could do to help me, I have tried every single approach to help him but this sickness he is currently having have changed him in every manner.

I guess reading about your account is one way I am trying to cope with the situation I am currently in. Cancer is a terrible disease that wrecks an otherwise good relationship.

May God Bless.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Please me, Yong Slew Hien, I also invited my wife to

leave me and spare herself the pain and sorrow of caring for me in my misery. But

her addiction to loving me for 49 years is too strong. She vows to stay with me and

to care for me as best she can until the bitter end or the sweet victory. That's love

both ways, Yong Slew Hien. God bless you and young boyfriend. I pray that God

grants him a miracle healing. He is blessed to have a caregiver like you as his

premier support system. I pray that God and His angels give you strength and give

him the healing we're praying for. Lord, heal him completely. In Jesus' name, I

pray. Amen.

Hi Rev. Banks,

Your detailed account above is very moving and it touches me so much that I actually shed tears reading it. I pray for your speedy recovery. May God Bless.

Carolyn

BANKS' RESPONSE: It is so kind of me to e-mail me your prayers and best

wishes, Carolyn. God bless you.

Hello!

As you expressed so well, Michael Jackson's death was such a shock. And like Dr. Maya Anjelou stated: His death tells us that we know nothing!

Well, I have learned that death certainly greets us all and that we will all be together on the other side one day. No matter who or what we are.

I thank God that I had the fortune to stumble upon your blog today. I have been feeling down for quite some time. You see, I am only 50-years-old but started losing family members at an early age---starting with my mother at ten.

Lacy, I am the lonliest person in the world. I have lost so many, that I am only sustained by the thought of not leaving my teen-aged daughter motherless during these precious years.

I do pray for a rapid recovery for you and a ceasing of your pain; but please say a word to God about me. Tell him to help me and to heal me. I am crying right now as I write this.

I feel like an orphan and that the world has forgotten about me. Because of the job market, I am attending college on-line and raising my child. My husband and I are seperated, he is a kind man, but he was military and has a real stubborn streak when it comes to the needs of others besides himself. For him, career is everything---I try to forgive and move on into the future with him, but he slips back into rendering me and my needs almost invisible just like I am a military recruit. We have been legally married for 27 years, but apart for close to ten. I am now living in a small-town in the South that I moved to for a job. This enhances my feelings of lonliness and invisibility.

But death will be a joy and not something to be afraid of. I had a very prophetic dream regarding MJ in May, and did not realize that it was about him at the time.

MJ is in a glorious place and his spirit is singing!

God Bless.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Be encouraged. Our heavenly Father watches over His

redeemed. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own

understanding. But in all ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. No

matter how tough times get, God cares and He invites us all to cast out cares upon

Him. God bless you. Lord, hear her prayers. Incline thine ear toward her, oh Lord,

and grant her Thy peace.

Mr. Lacy, Mr. Lacy, your words never cease to amaze me. I truly wish that all individuals regardless of color, nationality, and religion, would look to you and your words, as the way to move forward in leading a better life for all. I wrote to you several months back about having a heart attack at the age of 32. You blessed me with kind words of encouragement. It's unfortunate that this past Friday I once again, had another heart attack at the age of 36 (Artery collapsed, no plaque though!) I've been lifting weights, jogging, eating better, and trying to be a better person. Unfortunately, these have not been the antidote to a better (internal) me. I'm going to continue to push along by reading your words that inspire me. Oh, and to have an absolutely amazing wife (Sarah), and family/friends by my side during this difficult time has been a true blessing. Remember "Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero" "Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future" are true words to which I wish people would live by. G-D Bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I thank the Lord that He blessed you to survive your

heart attacks just as He has blessed me to survive my health setbacks. I pray that

He heal your heart completely. Thank God for your darling wife, too. What a lady!

Wishing you a smooth ride out of here to return to your creator.

BANKS' RESPONSE: A slow ride, too. Each day that He extends my life is a

testament to His grace and mercy. I remain a healing in progress. God is doing a

mighty work in me and I thank and praise it for that. That's why I've been blogging

this providential process for 17 months now. Ain't God good?

Mr. Banks
I just wanted to let you know that your words are inspirational. They not only remind us to take some time to appreciate what we have in our lives, but to do everything we can so that others may be able to do the same. I pray that you get the transplant that you need so that you will be able to continue to use your words to inspire people. God Bless YOU!

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, too, Dawn. I pray that He grants you the

desires of your heart so that your life will be long and your joys be full in Him.

My inclination is to write and remind you about how wonderful heaven is going to be whenever you get there. And how you can't get there until God says it's time. And on and on and on. But I know that you already know all of that stuff. I know this because when I was a child, growing up in Chicago, I attended Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. I had been showing up there each Sunday for Children's Church for about a year when an amazing young preacher arrived to teach us about Jesus. It was the first time in my young life that I really looked forward to getting to church. Before that, given the choice, I would have found pretty much anything else to do besides church. I'll soon be 50 years old, Rev. Banks. And appearantly, one or two of those sermons stuck because today, there are young people in a church in Mobile, AL counting on me to stand up each Sunday morning to tell them about Jesus. Thank you Rev. Banks. And thank God...

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Morris, for remembering me and for

being inspired by God's ministry through me. Now, you are also being used as a

heavenly utensil to spiritually enrich the lives of others. Rest assured that God is

pleased with your faith and work and will bless you richly for it.

Dear Reverend Banks,
God Bless You! I have read your columns and I am inspired by you. Your last comments really hit home with me. My mother had congestive heart failure with diabetes and bad kidneys and took about 27 pills a day. Yet she, like you, carried this incredible faith that the Lord was with her and she was not afraid to die. She wanted to live to see her grandchildren grow up but somehow reconciled with God when that was not to be. She passed away on June 30th of this year in her sleep. I know that she is with God.

Even though I wanted my mother to live forever, it was easier to come to terms with the fact that she was ready to die than for my friend who died at 53. She had kidney cancer and thought she was going for more treatment when the doctors said that there was nothing more that they could do for her. My friend was not ready to die.

What makes us ready to die? Even though I am healthy, this year I have spent more time thinking about death and how much more I want to accomplish before I die. Then I realize that I don't have a choice. God will take me when He's ready for me. Then I think about how I really need to live in the moment and trust that the Lord will guide me and to let all the petty things that occupy most of our working days go. I'm not that good at it. I would like to get better .

reverend Banks,you have a special gift carrying the message of the Lord. Thank you for sharing it with us!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Teri, once you repent of your sins, have faith in Jesus

and His gospel, believe Him with your heart and confess Him with your mouth, the

bible says, "thou shalt be saved." And once you are saved, you have God' gift of

eternal life and are ready to die with joy, without fear and without permanent cost.

You are ready to die because you know you have another home for your soul. It

is a building not made with hands eternal in heaven. God bless you, Teri. Let Jesus

come into your life today and accept Him as your Savior if you have not done so

already. There is still time and there is surely room at the cross for you.

Good morning Rev. Banks,
I just wanted to drop you a line to check on you and see how you have been doing since your surgery.I pray you have gotten some relief and are feeling better.I also pray you are being a good patient!My pastor and father Rev. De Ville and the entire Alpha Temple M.B. Church family are praying for you and your family.God speed,God bless,your sister in Christ,Marcia

BANKS' RESPONSE: It's always great to hear from you and the Alpha Temple

family, Marcia. I am blessed to have my brother, Dr. Leonard DeVille, and Alpha

Temple constantly behind me and praying for me. Thank you all so very much.

God Bless You

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, and I'm so glad I got my religion in time. I'm saved.

Dear Rev. Banks,

I read your blog this morning (possibly your last) about the unions' refusal to accept the givebacks "demanded" (my words) by the potential purchaser. Why am I not surprised that I could not find that entry this evening? I agree with you and your fellow union members in taking a stand against such greed and thievary. Those with money try to convince the less financially secure that it's better to have a piece of a job than no job at all. If the rich and greedy had their way, the majority of people in this country (of all races, creeds and colors) would be nothing more than minimum wage slaves. They are just sharks eating on the chum in waters already bloodied by the Wall Street and Mortgage Thieves. I know you and your co-workers don't want the Sun Times to die and certainly don't want to lose your jobs, but I remember a lesson I learned in graduate school about negotiating - The person willing to leave the bargaining table first usually gains the upper hand. That has worked very well for me in my career. The potential buyer won't even come to the bargaining table, which says a lot about his intentions as well as the intentions of SunTimes management trying to sell the workers a bill of goods. Don't fall for it.

Remember the Most High God that we serve. He has kept you thus far and He has no intention of leaving you at this stage in the game. And just think, when He brings about a mighty victory in this area of your life, so many others will be blessed by the fallout and just may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Isn't that how He does things? God bless you! Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Marie, for your encouraging e-mail. The paper

deleted and erased from its system what possibly is my last entry into this blog

because management did not agree with some of my critical comments. So you

probably won't read my response either. Even though I entitled my entry "Lord

Save the Sun-Times First Before Healing Me" or something close to that,

management wanted neither my prayers nor my best wishes nor my continuation

of hard work and sacrifice to save it unless I agreed to destroy myself at their

request. I love this paper along with my many labor colleagues. If this paper can't

tolerate free speech, and I promoted nothing violent or evil, within its own system

how can it be a true American newspaper in a democratic society? It fights the

very principle upon which it has always existed. It sides with the most ruthless of

dictators and police states. God bless you. I wish I had a copy of that entry at

least for the sake of history. By the way, Marie, my weight has dropped from 247

pounds six months ago to 205, the least I've weighed in 15-20 years. But the

wonder of all this is that except with lower back pains and pains in my groin and

left leg, and fatigue when I try to do too much, I feel good. Could my miracle

healing be finally coming to pass? I'll let you all know some way or other. Thanks

for your continued prayers. And please pray for the survival of the Sun-Times. We

all need our jobs.

Dear Lacy -

I read your reply to Marie and saw those three little words: I feel good. (Shades of James Brown!) It must be great, after all this time, to say that phrase. I can only hope and pray that you continue to feel good and, then, just keep feeling better.

I also affirm that the perfect opportunity to continue writing and telling your story is yours as well. I barely had time to comment on your last entry before it was taken down. But, did the Times management really think your readers wouldn't know why? You'd think a newspaper would be the last organization that would try to hide anything.

I continue to keep good thoughts and prayers for your recovery, both medically and career-wise.

Yours is an inspiring story, and don't we need a few of those now? Despite those who would try to convince us otherwise, we truly are in the season of hope.

BANKS' RESPONSE: John, I was shocked more than anybody when the

paper not only objected to my belief that the union should not be destroyed, but

they took my entry out and erased it from the system. I wish I could find somebody

who can find it on their system and still make a picture of it. Gestapo and secret

police tactics are now being employed to dupe the union into destroying itself in the

name of greed and not need. It's only by the grace and mercy of God that this

paper is still standing after seeing previous owners and manager steal some $600

million from the paper, get us in trouble with the IRS and seriously damage

customer confidence with dishonest marketing and advertising schemes. It looks

like we Sun-Times writers will be joining the unemployed soon. Now I know why so

many writers started jumping ship as early as a couple of years ago. They saw this

coming. Tyree is just doing what most other American businessmen are doing He is

trying to get something for nothing or for as little as he has to pay for it. But if he is

low-balling so aggressively, maybe he really can't afford it and shouldn't be trying

to buy. No harm in that. I've never met Tyree anyway and I am told he doesn't want

to meet any of us. I'd sure like to have prayer with him. I'd like to ask him, among

other things, what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.

Jesus is posing this question to many a Machiavellian marketer and manager

these days.

Dear Rev. Banks, I won't make the same mistake I made yesterday and delay writing to you. As John said, it was great to hear you say that you feel good. And yes, I'm agreeing with you that it is your miracle coming to pass! Please keep my email address and use it if you like, if the demons decide to cut off this particular means of communication. As one of my husband's caregivers reminded me - God always has a ram in the bush!

This blog has touched so many people and their lives in such a positive way that it's really a MINISTRY and God won't let it go without a fight, which we know He always wins. Being able to write to you about my experiences and encourage you in your battle has been more valuable to me than you'll ever know or I can communicate in words. My emotions are getting the best of me right now so it's best I stop and click send. May God continue to bless you real good!

BANKS' RESPONSE: My fight for our paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, is right

up there with my fight for my life. Marie, you could never in your lifetime meet a

bunch of dedicated, hard-working, efficient profession journalists than those who

staff the S-T. May God be with you and bless you abundantly through and through.

No weapon forged against us shall prosper because our God is our refuge and

strength and a very present help in the time of trouble.

I think you're a beautiful man to share this story and be full of such gratitude. Please read some of the stories people have shared on a website NDERF.com. They're full of love and comfort and hope. Bless you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I don't think that anybody who is sick and in need can

ever get too much hope and encouragement from well-wishers. Thank you for the

NDERF.com reference. I'll check it out.

Mr. Banks:

I haven't always liked what you have written, nor have I always agreed with it. Sometimes I have disagreed quite heartily. But you and I love the same God and he loves us and gives us strength when things look their bleakest. I am not a doctor, nor do i have any idea what it is to have to go through what you have gone through, but in spite of all you've had to endure, you're still kicking and working and you obviously have some strength (physical, spiritual or both) that keeps you going. Makes me think that while the doctors say one thing, HE has a plan for you -- He must want you to say more, or maybe you haven't said or done or shown people all He thinks you can. In which case I'm sure you're more than happy to stick around and complete the work!

(I do agree 100 percent with what you've said about the workplace and union-busting situation but i don't want to say too much lest my comment gets deleted. Besides, what would you rather do -- bust a union or stand with your brothers and sisters? I feel God is more likely to hear the prayers of the workers.)

Some may think you've given up but everytime i see your words i see that you are still chugging along, and like the poem says, you've got miles to go before you sleep.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I agree with you, James. I believe that God is not

through with me yet. That's one of the reasons I am determined to hold on to His

unchanging hand and to do the best I can for His Kingdom. I'll never give up or

give in. I will fight 'til the victorious end. And, yes,like Roberty Frost, my woods are

also lovely, darkand deep, and I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I

sleep; yes, miles and miles and miles to go until I sleep. Praise the Lord and bless

His name.

I'm glad to hear that you don't fear death. You're going to a better place anyway, and once you get there, you're going to feel sorry for those of us who are still here on Earth.

BANKS' RESPONSE: My love of life and my desire to live and love are much

stronger than my potential fear of death because I've been saved by my Lord and

Savior Jesus Christ, who has given unto me eternal life. There are dark hearts

among us dealing doom to countless innocents. They are driven by unrighteous,

mad-dog greed. But in the arms of Christ and His word, we have security where

no weapon formed against us shall prosper. My hope is in Jesus, the author and

finisher of my faith. My hope is in Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. My hope

is in Jesus, His blood and His righteousness.

Dear Rev.Banks, Ive been meaning to write to you for a long time. Just want to tell you what a blessing your blog has been to me. It is truly a primer for all of us in how to perservere with the help of God through difficult circumstances. Thanks for "letting your light shine is such a way that men see your good works (in this case words) and give glory to the Father in heaven.

By the way, I am also someone working in sports media who happens to be a preacher. Ive been a TV sports reporter for nearly 30 years (most of that in Omaha,Nebraska). I am the first Caucausian minister at the primarily African American Salem Baptist Church in Omaha and will be finally be ordained this coming Sunday night.

I grew up in Chicago reading your coverage of the Bulls over the years and am glad to read of your deep faith in Christ. You are in my prayers.

Merlyn Klaus

BANKS' RESPONSE: Congratulations on your salvation and your calling,

Marlyn Kraus. God has smiled on you. Thanks for remembering me in some

encouraging light. One never knows who is watching him and who might be

uplifted or inspired to do right by him. That's why the Master commanded that we

let our light so shined BEFORE men. Not in the dark shadows of anonymity. Not

in the far corners of secrecy and silence and invisibility. But at the light of the

world, we are to shine brightly and out in the open when men can then SEE our

good works and not give us the credit and the praise; But give God glory and

great gratitude. So I say unto you, shine on Marlyn. Don't hide your light under

a bush of shame or shyness. Don't hide your light in some dark hole of fear. But

shine with your smiles, shine with your kindness, shine with your sharing the word

of God with others. And shine most by living His love and loving Him and your

fellowman.

What a life you have lived here on Earth. God has blessed you. When my Mother lay dying from brain cancer...she never complained. Before she became really bad, she stated one request to see grandchildren. I'm glad you consider that a blessing because it truly is. A gift from God.

God Bless you and keep you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: What a warm and uplifting memory your darling mother

left all of you in her final days. What a woman of love and strength! It had to impart

to you all more strength for loving and living. My dear mama was the same on her

dying bed. Whatever happened to women like them? They are in woeful short

supply. And we are all the worse for it. Oh, if only I could hear my mama pray again.

Hello, My name is Samantha. I am 31 years old and I've been living with heart disease for 14 years. My older sister Nikki was diagnosed with the same form of congestive heart failure 5 years ago, after giving birth to my niece. Sadly I lost her July 31, 2008, she was only 30 years old . Nikki began to suffer from all types of mental breakdowns. For a while my mother and I thought someone had given her some kind of recreational drug to alter her mental status. But, it was all a part of her being in the end stages of this disease. She would walk around the house with a loaded shotgun saying someone was trying to get in the house. Nikki also did strange things like take pictures of random people saying they were following her. Without going into detail needless to say, it was very horrific for me to see my sister die, at home in the middle of our conversation. Until that moment I never once thought about being sick. Now it's all I think about.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I pray, in Jesus' name, that God heals you and that He

erase any genetic predisposition for heart disease that might be rooted anywhere in

your family DNA. I salute you and thank God for your love and compassion for your

dear departed sister. The late stages of congestive heart failure can be

catastrophic to its victims, mentally and emotionally as well of physically. Many

see and feel their bodies systematically breaking down and are stalked by a fear

of the worst. The agony is overwhelming. I can imagine how much more painful it

was for your sister to suffer these agonies as a young mother hating to leave her

daughter behind. I pray also that God heal your of the emotional scar from seeing

her suffer and feeling defenseless to help. God bless you, Samantha, for your

enlightening comment.

Death Oh Death where is your sting, no more crying there we are going to meet the King. Lacy Banks, my prayer for you is that God would look down upon your pain and bring you deliverance, That you would feel his mercy and be covered in his grace, knowing our God Regins, He is a mighty God we serve, angels bow before Him, Heaven and Earth adore Him, what a mighty God we serve, so all to the
Glory of His Name, may your comfort be wrapped up in Christ, I thank you for sharing your pain and I lay them at the foot of
the Cross. I love you with the Love of the Lord, peace be still. You are in a win-win position, set apart for Christ, you are His
royal priesthood, a sweet smelling sacrafice of praise, Thank you
for being a pastor, thank you for touching lives, thank you for living. In Jesus name.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, oh wondrous daughter of Jerusalem, for

your precious prayer that deeply warmed my heart and fired and inspired me to

fight on to keep living and giving, preaching, praying and praising in Jesus' name.

Your e-mail is sweetly eloquent and lush with time-honored familiar sayings that we

church folk have exchanged to comfort and encourage one another down through

the years. You speak with divine depth and anointing. I want to be a credit to God's

kingdom. I want Him to be proud of my faith in Him and my love for Him. Oh that I

were perfect, I'd feel more satisfied in my efforts to please Him. But really, at the

end of the day and in the final analysis, we born-again Christians will get credit

for perfection and holiness through the redeeming blood and the faith authored

and finished by Christ Jesus. No way can we measure up to God's requirements

on our mere merits. All we are an unclean thing and our righteousnesses pooled

together amount to nothing more than an heap of filthy rags. But what can wash

away ours sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make us whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Thank God for the blood of His only begotten

Son Jesus. By His stripes smeared on my flesh, I shall be healed. And when my

healing comes, I shall proclaim it to the world to the glory of God. I pray that God

blesses and prospers you profoundly in ways you never imagined, Susana. God

be with you 'til we meet again.

Thank-you for sharing your story, trials and tribulations. I have been living with congestive heart failure since the mid-90's. O have been a procrastinator in many aspects most of my life, especially in regards to my health. Though not a practicing christian, I do believe in God. I do believe God allows things to happen for a reason. About three years ago, a fall on my job was followed by the termination of my position on the job while on leave. Though I've improved alot, I still experience weakness in my legs. I was unable to get medical coverage until a friend informed me of the County hospital system. I thank God everyday they were there for me. I don't know where I would have found the care I received. Because of this event, I now have a cardiologist. This cardiologist through several tests found that my heart is struggling to function. I have a low factor. He has recommended a pacemaker and defibrillator. I had not been willing to consider it until I read your blog. I don't want my heart to get weaker. I do want to travel. I have begun the arduous task of losing weight. Now because of you, I'm not only going to be more fervent in my efforts, I'm also going to begin an exercise regimen and seriously consider the pacemaker even though I don't feel the need at this time. I will seek a second opinion to determine if it is indeed a necessity at this time. Thanks again for sharing. You have touched this sister's life and heart. I will keep you and yours in my prayers. Good Luck to you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: By all means, Deb, lose weight with exercise and smart

eating. Exercise! Exercise!! Exercise!!! Lose as much weight as you can. Don't

over-exercise in any one session. But exercise at a comfortable, sustained rate

to build up a good sweat. Gradually increase your exercise as your stamina

improves. And this comes by exercising every day. Do a minimum of 20 minutes of

aerobic exercise each day. Make a vow to your life. Swear it solemnly and

fervently that you will exercise everyday. Listen to your body. Feel your body.

Again, don't try to break you neck or set some world record in any single exercise

session. Presently, I love my exercise bike. It is giving me great benefits. I love

seeing the sweat drip profusely and see my weight go down. I know that as my

heart weakens, it also makes one lose weight. But the exercise helps you lose

weight the right way and you feel better as your weight goes down. I realize now

that unless my heart gets better, I will need a heart pump and eventually a heart

transplant for long-term recovery. In the interim, consistent exercise is helping me

hold on and endure. Exercise also curbs the appetite. You find yourself eating

less and getting full quicker. Your metabolism also is great improved with

consistent exercise. It helps you better digest your food so that you get the most

its nutrients. Exercise also stimulates and improves blood circulation to better

nourish the whole body so that it will function more efficiently. Listen to your body

and when you feel sick, act responsibly. I pretty much agree with your thinking

about everything else in your e-mail. But first and foremost, pray to God for help.

Thank Him for what He has already done. Apologize for your sins against Him.

Ask Him to have mercy and healing grace on you. Ask Him in the name of Jesus.

Then do your best to help yourself through proper exercise and diet and trust God

for the rest.

forgiveness and

Mr. Banks,

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I just stumbled upon your website. I am a mother of four with a new job and a lot of stress. My health has been poor since I was a child. There was always "something" wrong with me. Recently, I have been through so much that I am starting to wonder if I have much more time to live. Each and every day, I am in pain and currently I have no health insurance and am waiting for Nov. 1rst for it to kick in so that I can finally go back to see all of my specialists.

Without divulging all the details, I will tell you that, unlike you, I do not welcome the prospect of death. I got saved when I was young, but over the years (after a painful divorce from a pastor who cheated on me with one of the devotional singers in the church), I have fallen away...

I am in tears writing this as I know that much of my problems with death are because of my knowing that my relationship with God is not as it should be. I just couldn't bring myself to see the church or preachers the same after what I went through in my marriage. I know that people aren't perfect, but I prayed so hard and lived my best "saved" life when I was married and it wasn't enough. Signing the divorce papers felt like the worse sin that I had ever committed because, with it, I broke my vows as I always believed that with God all things were possible...

Anyway, my aunt recently died after a long and painful fight against breast cancer. It has ripped me to the core because she was a woman of great faith (my inspiration) and God did not spare her although she "claimed her healing daily". This has made me wonder if God will heal me, especially since I know that her faith was stronger than mine.

I wouldn't have responded to your blog, but since you are a pastor, I felt that perhaps you could share some wisdom with me. I do pray to God, but it seems like he is so far away. I have seen an oncologist, gastroenterologist, cardiologist, orthopedic specialist and neurologist and I am still in pain and without relief. I wonder if God is punishing me...

I have so much to live for! I love my children and they are my joy and delight, the only light in my world, at times. How can I find peace so that I am not afraid to die, like you? And, how can I live my life now to the fullest even though I have these health problems?

I pray that God continues to bless you and that he heals you so that you continue to help others. Hope to hear back from you soon.

Mae

BANKS' RESPONSE: Mae, all of your frustrations and fears are natural after

all that you have been through and are continuing to go through. In the process, I

admire your sincerity about your struggles and your strong strive to survive and

thrive. Yes, you do have so much to live for, beginning with yourself. You must first

come through your trials and tribulations in order to be there for your children,

other loved ones and anybody else. You must take care of you as best you can.

And you basically do that by doing your best and trusting God for the rest. Please

don't punish all men, especially preachers, for what your former husband did. He

alone must pay for his own missteps. So don't force anybody else to pay for them.

Not all men are dogs and not all preachers are fakes. You had a bad experience

that scarred you badly. But there are still good, loving men in the world and many

of them are preachers. Nobody is asking you to fall in love with death and to

welcome it at this moment when you are so young and still have much to live for.

But your salvation in Christ is there for a blessed assurance that death will not

rob you for your most precious possession. And that is your sanctified soul and

your guaranteed eternal life. Be encouraged that God loves you, that Jesus is there

for you, that the Holy Ghost will keep your mind in perfect peace and stayed on

Jesus and that angels are on standby alert to intercede on your behalf and that

you Christian family, the household of faith, extended around the globe, is a haven

and support system second to none. In the interim, walk on by faith each day and

let Jesus be your guide.

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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 August 30, 2009 9:20 PM.

SOMETIMES, EVEN THE INSURED HAVE TO FIGHT FOR CARE was the previous entry in this blog.

I WISH THE LORD WOULD SAVE THE SUN-TIMES AHEAD OF ME is the next entry in this blog.

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