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We're Closing In On My Sheherazade. Thanks. God Bless You.

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God bless you.

We are closing in on 1,000 comments to this blog.

In fact, we are three comments away from what I would call a

"scheherazade." I started this blog 29 months ago, posting my first on May 5

2008. This is my 85th entry. I am told this is one of the paper's most popular

blogs.

I thank God for the time and energy and mind to write this blog.

I thank God for the Chicago Sun-Times for employing me for more than

38 years and for allowing me to blog my fight against a cancerous brain tumor

that was quickly declared benign, a malignant prostate tumor that was caught when

it was early and localized, and a weakened heart that now needs to be

replaced.

And now, I am about to celebrate a "scheharazade."

For you who don't know, I am a voracious lover of classical music. I have

been for some 55 years since I saw a black-and-white, televised production of

"The Mikado," an operetta by the British tandem of librettist William S. Gilbert and

composer Authur Sullivan.

Over the years, I have listened to hundreds of symphonies and innumerable

operas, motets, cantatas, quartets, trios, serenades, tone poems, sonatas, concerti

for different instruments and so on and on and on.

One of my favorite pieces, however, is "Scheherazade," a symphonic suite

composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a Russian music master. This piece was

delicious to my ears from the very first time I heard it. "Scheherazade" is

crafted around "The Book of One Thousand Nights,'' also referred to as the Arabian

Nights. It is a composition lushly laced with oriental euphoria. I have always been

fascinated by the culture, the art, the beauty, the myths and the cuisine of the

Orient.

Now, here comes my 'Scheherazade."

Key word of all this, now, is one thousand, which, you all know, is a

millennium. A millennium of anything good is a proud milestone. Nobody, in his

right mind, wants to suffer 1,000 cuts, or to be shot 1,000 times, or to be whipped

1,000 lashes, or to serve 1,000 days in a dungeon or prison.

But 1,000 kisses, 1,000 hugs, 1,000 friendly pats on the back, 1,000 honest

handshakes, 1,000 roses, 1,000 bullion of gold or 1,000 diamonds or 1,000 of

anything good is another story.

Yes, as I write this entry, we are three comments away from 1,000. And I

thank the Lord that you precious , encouraging and enlightening souls have seen

fit to take time and energy to "reach out and touch somebody's hand....to make this

a better world." And that somebody just happens to be me. Thank you.

In those 997 comments written so far are countless tears, smiles, prayers,

best wishes, inspirations, challenges, chastisements, visions, prophecies, poems

and powerful, poignant pieces of advice.

I'm looking forward to my 1,000th comment from you. Yes, one person will

write a comment that will be the thousandth of this blog. But you will be a symbol

of the whole pool because one of you is responsible for about 50 comments. Some

of you have sent dozens and dozens. Some of you wanted to write one, but wrote

none. Yet, heaven gives us credit for the desires of our hearts. It gives us credit

for what we mean to do rather what what we actually do. As such, this blog

has generated billions or maybe even trillions of impulses, good impulses. They

may have never gotten far enough to be made manifest in print or in voice, in tears

or cheers. But they still count if they help you in some way and you whisper or

just think something nice about this blog.

Thank you, sisters and brother. Thank you one and all. I want to thank each

of you at least 1,000 times. But this number would still be far, far too small to

begin to articulate my gratitude.

God bless you.

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8 Comments

Rev Banks
Thanks again for showing how gracious you are for your life and those in it. I know you are a fighter, a minister and a teacher. As an avid reader of your blog, the typos and grammatical errors doesn't bother me, I understand the messenger, so I get the Message! When the words are formulated in your mind and travels via your fingers they are received by my heart. Thanks for giving so much of your time and energy to allow readers an insight into the life and mind of such a Blessed man of God. You are a true leader and your actions speak for themselves. I still listen to your sermon from Fellowship; Beyond the Manger! This is a powerful message, it's not just for Christmas, it for everday living. It cheers me when I'm down, soothes me when I'm hungry. I'm thankful to know God lives and dwells in your heart, mind, body and soul. Keep on blessing us with your unfailing determination to declare victory over your enemies, known and unknown!

BANKS' RESPONSE: I thank God for your advancing spiritual maturity. You have grown beyond the manger, beyond the pool and beyond the metaphysical meat diet to where you are feasting on the Master's manna. What a great memory you have. It's been at least 15 years since I preached that sermon at Fellowship and I don't believe I've preached it since then. Feast on, Shara. Feast on God's word. By the way, this is the 998th comment in the 29-month history of this blog. You remain one of its strongest and most consistent contributors. God bless you.

You’re welcome with my thanks to you, Rev. Banks.

That time, twenty-nine months ago, started a personal journey which has renewed my commitment to prayer and stretched my grasp of the immeasurableness of faith. It has been through your blog that I’ve embraced the concept of the “six degrees of separation” finding a sage, brief friend who lived in the house on Parallel and walked the KU campus as a man-on-a –mission.

Thank you, Rev. Banks, for sharing the most personal parts of this progressive restoration. Thank you for introducing us to your wife, your daughters, your grandchildren, your sisters, your antagonist, to your employer, the Chicago Sun Times…thank you.

Write on, write on!

BANKS' RESPONSE: My, my, my.....Why did my 999th comment have to come from some nonscript secret agent named "anonymous"? This is the most popular source we newspaper reporters use when we have a good hunch for a story, but no solid source to whom we can attibute valuable quotes or information. So we call that source "anonymous" to protect the source if she or he doesn't want to be indentified. We also create an "anoymous" source even when we don't have one. Nevertheless, my phantom companion, I still appreciate your filing a comment for the record but not for attribution. If being anonymous is how you prefer to bless us, then bless on, my dea colleague. Bless on. Bless with whispers behind closed doors. Bless by morse code. Bless us in a foreign languauge that nobody speaks anymore, Bless us incognito, Let your comments remain highly classified, top secret, and shared only on a need-to-know basis.

Does this make me number 1000?? Is there a gift bag and a new car?? Answer the second question first, if you don't mind. (That's a Grouch Marx joke and, if I'm not mistaken, he played the role of Koko in The Mikado in that television production in 1960.

Congratulations on 1000 - and more - comments! It is a big accomplishment to engage that many people and those of us who regularly follow your blog. Yours is a compelling story and reminds us all of our mortality and of the power of faith. As I go through my challenges, I know that it is only faith in the balance that was built into life at its creation that will see me through.

Your blog is a consistent reminder and I thank you for sharing with us all.

Here's to the happy ending.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Well, well, well. Hot diggidy Deputy Dog. John, my dear friend and ardent encourager, you are Mr. Millennium. How does it feel to be our milestone man? Dare I even say, I had a hunch it would be you and that nobody deserved the honor????? At least, I am honored. Honored to know you. Honored to be your friend. Honored to be in the trenches of adversity with you and share a fox hole with the courageous you. Honored to be enlightened by you. Honored to see you share your compassion and encouragement to our other blogmates. Well, well, well. Let's see. A prize? Well, I have a lot of classical music CDs that I'm going to have to part with sooner or later because nobody else in my family developed a love for classical music, to my great disappointment. If you love classical music, tell me who you favorite composer is. I declare unto you and it's a 99 percent probability that I have several recordings of his works. Let me know and I will send you this little present. All I need is your address. In fact, for a limited time only, because I'm feeling good about this scheherazade, the next nine people who love classical music and tell me so in a comment, I will send you something by your favorite composer. If I don't have an original CD of it, then I will burn one from my vast library of LPs and audio cassettes. Now, ain't that loving y'all baby. When I say vast, baby, I mean vast. For example, just to name a few, I have three different sets of Beethoven sonatas, all his symphonies, all Tchaikovsky's symphonies and four different recordings of Swan Lake ballets, all of Mozart's symphonies and most of his operas.

Greetings Rev. Banks,can't believe it's been over 2 years since you started your blog.It has been very enlighten to be able to follow you through all of your sickness and procedures.I applauled you for your bravery.And I thank you for sharing your most private and personal life illnesses with all of us.You are a brave soldier.I pray I would be able to lean and trust the Lord through any sickness as you have.It's easy to say put your faith and trust in the Lord,but there are times when we fall short of just that.I have been blessed to live a healthy life but I don't take it for granted.Happy "1000" blog!!! My continued prayers for you and a big hello and God bless you from my dad,Rev. De Ville and the Alpha Temple family.Look forward to seeing you and Mrs.Banks soon.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, 1,001. Yes, Marcia, your comment is the 1,001th I've received since starting this blog 29 months ago. It would have been more if I had been in the hospital less and had posted more entries. But three operations and rounds of treatment and test required me be in the hospital for 60 days in the last year alone. I'm praying for you and the Alpha Temple family so please continue for me, too.

Rev, I am a "closet" classical music lover. Had to study it in undergrad and didn't appreciate it at the time. Now I do. No particular favorite composers, but what I love more than anything is piano. I know you've got good taste.

8527 S. Kedvale, Chicago, IL 60652
We get mail addressed to Nana & Papa so I know we'll get this.

BANKS' RESPONSE: OK, Marie. Then let's call my selection "pot luck" as far as you are concerned. I will pick one of me dear favorites and surprise you. OK?

Potluck is good! Surprise is good! I try not to be so structured and old school that I'm not open to life with a little new "spice" every now and then. I look forward to learning more about you by your selection. Thank you and as always, prayers and blessings continue for all of us!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, for the most part, Marie, you will learn so much about who I am through my incredible musical diversity. Each of my most cherished pieces represent some of my mental, spiritual, physical and emotional DNA.

Pastor Banks, claim your victory right now!!! God loves for us to step out on faith and believe that He will be there for us. Walking in faith is like walking a plank on a ship. Where your very next step will plunge you into the ocean resulting in death. But, when we trust in God, He will slide another one under you so that you can keep going.

So many times I have asked God why won't He just land my ship so that I won't have to worry about drowning in the ocean. Lacy, His answer to me was "Then you wouldn't be walking in faith. Depending on Me for your every step". So, every step that I take, I take in faith and trusting. Putting everything in His hand. Knowing that without Him I'm nothing and can do nothing for myself.

When I was detected with a rare form of breast cancer, I was so calm that they wanted to send me for therapy saying that I was in denial. Lacy, I told my doctor that I wasn't in denial that I was safely in the arms of Jesus! Now let's get on with what we have to do! LOL.

My cancer was the size of a half of a small grapefruit and sat on top of my breast. My doctor told me that "maybe" within 5-6 months I would see some reduction of it. At that time such a safe feeling came over me that it brought a smile to my face when I was told this. Again, I could see that look that I needed therapy come over his face.

My chemo was to be that next Wednesday. I was in my gown when he came into my chemo suite that next week. I asked him if he was ready to see me? With a look of pity for me he said yes. When I opened my gown, he stood there looking in amazement. It seemed forever that he was speechless. When he finally did speak he said "In my 17 years of practice, I have NEVER seen anything like this before"! Lacy, the tumor that he said would take 5-6 months to shrink had done so in one week! It was flat and level with my breast. He was so shocked that he brought in other doctors to see this. Showing them pictures of the week before.

The way that God worked miracles before their very eyes made believers of them Lacy. My Oncologist said that in all of his years of practice that he had NEVER seen or heard of a healing like he was seeing in me. I mean to tell you Lacy, God showed up and showed out! My doctor went on to tell me that never before had he believed in God but, I had made a believer of him. = ) He now believes.

So Lacy, know that I am with you on your Journey. I have walked that path before and I know the way. I will pray for you and walk with you to the crossroad where Jesus will be waiting to take you from there. There's NOTHING that God can't do. ONLY He has the final word! He will see you through all of this victoriously.

Janet

BANKS' RESPONSE: Tears. Tears. Tears. Thank God for tears. Thank God for those precious liquid prayers. Thank God for His angelic tear patrol that is on incessant stand-by alert to respond when we drip and splash those those wet drops of supplication in the direction of God's priceless, prayer-answering throne of grace. Tears started welling up in my eyes after I had read just the first couple of sentences of your comment. They started welling because what goes from the heart reaches the heart. They started welling because I was being fed bread of heaven and being led just one step of faith closer to my newest healing. There is, in your comment, Elaine, the voice of heaven telling me still to fight on. Fight on through the flashing lightning. Fight on through the rolling thunder. Fight on through the lion's den and the fiery furnace. Fight on through the famine and pestilence. Fight on through the doubts and fears. And why not fight on? Because He promised never to leave us. Never to leave us alone. No, never alone. There is, in your comment, the testimony of a true Kingdom kid forever grateful and faithful for the wonders God has worked in her life. Your life, Elaine. God used you to make manifest, before you and others, His supreme healing powers. Tears welled and fell because I was reminded by you, as I have been by so many others of you connected to this blog, that I am not alone. Reminded that all I have been through, all that I am going through and all other challenges that await me are not for naught. There is a purpose, a powerful, positive purpose, in all my perils. In due season, as I have said on other occasions, God will transform my perils into pearls. Tears welled and fell because few things turn me on better and more than seeing God's healing and saving graces in action. He used you, Elaine. He used you in a manner most sublime and refined. He used you, in part, to enable your doctors to step out on their own faith and also believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oh, to be used by Jesus. Oh, to be an instrument in His blessed Hands. Oh, to be put on public parade for His name's sake. Oh, to be delivered by Him. I like the way you described that "faith walk" on the uncertain plank of calamity. I like the way you reminded us all that if we make one step, God will make two. I like the way you reminded us how God always slides in that extra step beneath our lurching feet when we feel we have reached dead end. Yes, like you said, He just shows up and shows out. And when He shows up and shows out in what adversity thinks is a decisive showdown, He turns a setup into a victorious upset that shakes us all up. Tears welled and fell as I saw you reap the harvest that God has promised His redeemed faithful. I rejoice to see God bless you to take back, in short order, what the devil tried to steal from you. That's the devil. He was a liar and a murderer from the beginning and He remains so. But, oh not only to be used by Jesus. Oh, to be kept by Jesus! And, so, from time to time, Elaine, Connie, John, Carroll, Marie, Gwen and you other beloveds, I pray that song: "Jesus, please Suh (sic), keep me near the cross. There, a precious fountain. Free to all a healing stream. Flows from Calvary's mountain. In the cross. In the cross. Be my glory ever. 'Til ,my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river." I know what you were writing about. So do the rest of us redeemed believers. You had us all on board with you. We have either been there, are presently there or are headed that way. We, too, have enjoyed that peace that passes all understanding. We, too, have flashed that look of tranquility in the time of tempest and left the doubters, the pouters and the down-and-outers shaking their heads in consternation wondering what the heck is going on with this patient. "Whatever happened to that tumor the size of a small grapefruit? Whatever became of that potentially lethal lump. We saw it with our very own eyes. We know the standard case history of such symptoms. It will take at least six months for it to dissolve if it dissolves at all." I can hear them continue to tell themselves, "Hey, we are doctors. We know our stuff. We have been trained by the finest universities and medical schools. We have successfully done our residencies and we have been licensed to practice medicine. We are armed with the most elite technology and tools in the field of medicine to date. We know what we know. How can these things be?" How can they be? Well, with help from ebonics, they be that way when God is in the wonder-working business. They be that way when God answers prayers. They be that way when God breaks yokes. They be that way when God decides to heal the broken-heart and set at liberty them that are bound. He sets the captive free. His blood avails for you and me. It be that way because, yes, Nicodemus, that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. and the spirit supercedes the flesh. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. It be that way because all things work together for good to them that love the Lord; to them who are the called according to His purpose. When you showed up for chemo, and the doctors opened the blouse of your medical gown, the Holy Ghost likewise used your healing to open the doors of the church. Your miraculous shrunken lump was the most super of sermons. And when the doors of the church was opened through the revelation of your healing, those doctors decided to walk down the aisle as candidates for baptism. Oh, bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Yes, we all know of that blessed quietness, holy quietness and assurance to our souls that on the stormy sea, Jesus speaks to you and me, and the bellows cease to roll. Hallelujah! Can I hear somebody shout "Hallelujah!" Yes, we all know that holy tranquility oh so well. How else can we make it through the freezing fright and sleepless night? In one word, sisters and brothers, it is Jesus. For He has allowed us to touch the hem of His garment. And His blood has made us whole. Will somebody please shout, "Praise the Lord!" and "Thank you Jesus!"

Twelve months ago had a little talk with my doctor and discussed those end of life issues, you know...do not resusicitate, etc. but we also settled on it would be left up to God. I'm still here! But this is really not about me. I have received so much encouragement, strength, support, increased faith just keeping up with you. Perhaps the Lord has been providing for you because so many of us needed something you he gave you to give.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Oh, dearest Gwen, I would love to tell you all that I don't know about Jesus. Why? Because all that I don't know about Him is so much more, infinitely more, than I already know and all that I can know and ever will know as long as I live within the confines of this carnal cage. Did not God tell us through His Word, in so many words, that eyes have not seen, neither have ears heard nor have minds or hearts known or imagined the good things that He has in store for those (that's you, me and the rest of us) who are His redeemed? I would love tell you all that I don't know about God. But I don't know enough of what I don't know in order to do it. Not nearly or even barely enough. Ain't God Great? Yes, this is partially how Great God is. He is so Great that His awesomeness spares us of the need or obligation or ability to appropriately describe just how Great and just how Good He really is. So all that's left for us to do, really, and all that is required of everything that has breath, is to praise the Lord. And, quite frankly, we should bless Him at all times and have praise of Him ceaselessly in our mouths. Yes, I'm here, too. You and I are both are here with, and as, compelling evidence that He is forever Great and Good. There is no greater purpose for us and our thankful little lives and finite bodies. We owe Him at least that much. So, in the mean time, in between time, we acknowledge that it is all up to Him and we simply place stuff like that in His hands and stop worrying about it because God has already worked it out. What's so bad about this life that won't be replaced and erased by the abundant, eternal life that Jesus has already assured us? Our eternity in Heaven is worth all the blood, sweat, tears, desires, hopes, works, grunts, groans, moans and thoughts and anything else that we can invest. And God's Kingdom kickback, heaven, knocks anything else out of the park for a homerun.

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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 October 4, 2010 10:55 PM.

I'm Feeling Weaker And It's All My Fault. I'm Getting A Whipping. was the previous entry in this blog.

Where There's A Will, There's A Way To Worry Less is the next entry in this blog.

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