The Awakening Reality

by Dr. James Willingham

“Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.”(Gen.28:16).  In a lonely place where he made his pillow of stones, Jacob awoke to the realization that Another was also present in that location, namely, the Lord Himself.  The presence of God and His omnipresence and, in particular, His special presence is a truth that is seldom considered in this day and time.  That it should be otherwise, we cannot doubt.

After all, the Apostle Paul made specific mention of God’s omnipresence in his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.”(Acts17:28).  Just prior to that remark, he had declared that the Lord was “not far from every one of us.”  The fact that in Him we live and move and have our being brings Him up close and person.  He is here and now.  The sense of God’s presence is what moves sinners to cry for mercy, to seek His forgiveness, especially when His presence is overwhelming in such attributes as holiness and judgment and sovereignty and wrath and love.  Just consider how, Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me,” when he saw the Lord high and lifter up in the temple and heard the Seraphims cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”(Isa.6:3,5)

There is more of the Lord’s special presence indicated by His remarks that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”(Mt.18:20)  Actually, that special presence is even more overwhelming than we can imagine.  After all, the church is called the temple (Hebs.12) and the holy of holies (I Cors.6).  In that part of the temple, the high priest went once a year with a rope tied around his leg so that they could drag him out, if he was struck dead.  Ever thought of the fact that God is present in the church in that fashion, so present, so overwhelmingly present, that your life could be snuffed out?

In the presence of such a Being, it is little wonder that men’s hearts fail them for fear, that they lose consciousness, that their very hearts seem to melt within them.  It is just such presence that is the reality of which we speak, when we refer to The Awakening Reality.  His presence is the reality that awakens you to Himself.  Just think such a presence is here and now, and He confronts you no matter which way you turn.  God grant you the grace to see that of which I write, the secret of the third great awakening.

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About dr. james willingham

B.S. Ed. Lincoln Univ., Mo., '67; M.A. (American Social and Intellectual History) (GPA 3.7) Morehead State Univ., Ky. '71; work toward a Ph.D. in American and Black History, 6 hrs. Univ. of South Carolina and 12 at Columbia Univ., NY, Spring and Summer of '71 respectively; M.Div. '74; D. Min. '76 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, NC; M.A. '88 Liberty Univ., Va, (counseling). Honors: Phi Alpha theta - the International Honor Society of Historians; Pi Gamma Mu - The National Honor Society of Social Scientists Graduate Assistant, Morehead State, '69-70; Lecture: The Stanley Elkins Thesis: A Critique. Summer Afternoon Lecture Series Columbia University, Summer '71; Instructor, South Carolina State College, 1970-72 (taught 4-5 sections in American History. taught one course in Philosophy, Spring of '71), Adjunct faculty" Richmond Community College, Rockingham, NC 1985, taught two quarters of Political Science. Thesis for M.A. in American Social & Intellectual History: "The Baptists & Ministerial Qualifications:1750-1850." Prospectus for Doctoral Dissertation at Columbia University, Summer of '71, "The Baptists and Slavery." Instructor Seminary Extension: Greater Gaston Baptist Association, Gastonia, NC, 2002-2004. Taught Systematic Theology, Baptist History, Church History, Preaching, Isaiah, Hebrews Introduction to New Testament Theology. Pastorates: Pilot Knob Baptist Church, Belle, Mo., '62-64; Elston Baptist Church, Elston, Mo., '65-66; Gum Springs Baptist Church, Moncure, NC., '72-83; Heritage Baptist Church, Rockingham, NC, '84-96; Interim, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Casar, NC, 1/2001-3/2001. Chairman, Historical Committee, Sandy Creek Baptist Association, '77=81; Chairman, Historical Committee, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, '85-86. Annual Sermon, Sandy Creek Association, 1981 Lecture: "The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses." BSCNC. Delivered as Chairman of the Committee Fall of '85. Play: The Mirror of Our Past. Visual History of Jersey Baptist Church
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