I recently finishing reading Edward T. Welch’s “When People Are Big and God Is Small”. These are some quotes from the book that really struck me:
(p. 39) “Sometimes we would prefer to die for Jesus than to live for him.” Welch explains that many would confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior if faced with death, but would rather not talk about him if it meant being unliked or ignored by others.
(p. 45) “When we think of idols, we usually think first of Baal and other material, man-made creations….We rarely picture our spouse, our children, or a friend from school. ..They are worshipped because we perceive that they have power to give us something. We think they can bless us.”
Welch discussed how Abraham feared man over God (afraid to tell others that Sarah was his wife so he wouldn’t be killed), while David and Joshua are good examples of others who feared God over man.
(p. 71) “The road leading to the fear of man may be expressed in terms of favoritism, wanting others to think well of you, fearing exposure by them, or being overwhelmed by their perceived physical power. When these fears are not combated with the fear of the Lord, the consequences can be devastating. But when God is given his rightful place in our lives, old bonds can be shattered.”
* In regards to the above quote, Welch suggests studying Jeremiah 17:5-8 and Matthew 10:28.
(p. 85) “Today you can be spiritual, it would seem, if you believe in your left shoe….When God and spirituality are reduced to our standards or our feelings, God will never be to us the Holy One of Israel. With God reduced in our eyes, a fear of people will thrive.”
Welch suggests that we “grow in the fear of the Lord”. He points to the Gospel of Mark and how many times people were “amazed” by Jesus and his teachings.
Welch also describes the story of Hosea and Gomer as a good analogy for God’s love for us. Why would Hosea ever married someone like Gomer ? Why would God have ever married someone like us ?
Welch talks about the importance of fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters…
(p. 202) “A psalm such as Psalm 133 reminds us to pray for God’s remedy. It reminds us that one of the great blessings on earth is to be united with God’s people rather than to fear them or be isolated from them.”
Here is Jeremiah 17:5-8 (ESV):
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength, 
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”