In January, 2011 God said to me, “Bobby, you have learned many of the healing verses in the Bible, you can recite them or paraphrase them, you understand the link between healing and forgiveness, but there is more to Me than healing. You need to read other parts of the Bible to find out all about Me.” So I started reading the Bible. I started at the beginning of the New Testament, with the Gospel of Matthew. Because the Old Testament is twice as long as the New Testament, I picked 2 places to start: Psalms, the first poetry book; and Isaiah, one of the prophets. Since January, I have read 25 books of the Old Testament, from Ezra to Malachi (all the poetry books and prophets); and 5 books of the New Testament, the 4 Gospels and Acts.
From 1975 to 1977 I lived, worked, and traveled in Southwest Asia. The shah ruled Iran and they were friendly to the US; I lived in Teheran for a year. I had the chance to travel to southern Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. I tried to get a tourist VISA to Iraq, but was denied. Later I met an American business man who explained that I appeared suspicious to the Iraqis. I was an American living in Iran and both of those countries were hostile to Iraq at the time. But I did stand at the river in Susa and look across to Iraq. I was thinking, “That is where Abraham was born, in the city of Ur.”
While I was reading the prophets, all but Isaiah referred to the historical time when the Jews were conquered by the king of Babylon, whose empire was then conquered by the kings of the East – Cyrus and Darius of Persia - , whose empire was then conquered by the Greek king from the West, Alexander the Great. The books of Esther and Daniel took place in present-day Iran. Needless to say, this part of the Bible was very exciting for me to read, because I had been to many of the places mentioned. There is a city called Susa in southern Iran. Both Daniel and Esther lived in Susa and mention it in the Bible. The tomb of Daniel is in the town of Susa; Daniel is revered by Moslems as well as Jews and Christians. Besides having been to Susa and seen the tomb of Daniel, I have walked the foundations of the palace that is described in the 1st chapter of Esther. I have also been to Persepolis, which is near Susa. It is a ceremonial structure that has some of the finest examples of Achaemenian architecture in the world. It was constructed during the Golden Age of Persia, 515 BC, when Esther and Daniel lived. I also saw Ziggurets in southern Iran. These are large rectangular structures with stairs going up the sides; some people speculate that one of these was the Tower of Babel.
What have I learned about God so far? I learned that He is full of goodness, love, grace, compassion, mercy, patience, tolerance, glory, wisdom, redemption, strength, salvation, knowledge, gentleness, kindness, truth, faithfulness, mercy, miracles, righteousness, blessings, peace, and joy. And He wishes all of the above for His children, ALL of His children.