Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving: Psalm 147

Psalm 147 serves as a wonderful list and reminder of things for which we can give thanks to our God.

147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

Verse 1 explains why we should give thanks to the Lord. For one thing, it is good. It is a good and right thing to do. Another reason for giving thanks to God is because it is pleasant to do so. When you join in singing a song of thanks to God, isn't it something that makes you feel good? Just as the Bible tells us here, it is pleasant. A third reason is that giving thanks is comely, or fitting as some translations render it.

147:2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

What does that have to do us, you might ask. Building up Jerusalem? Well, like many things in the Bible, even if there is not a direct application, there is still something we can take away from it. Just as God placed his temple in Jerusalem in Old Testament times, he has done much the same with believers under the New Testament. In that sense, we can be thankful that God builds up his Church, and gathers in his people.

147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

it is the Lord who ultimately heals both body and soul. How can you not read this verse without thinking of the passage in Revelation that says he will finally wipe away all tears from our eyes? That is a great promise that we can be truly thankful for!

147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Have you ever considered thanking God for his wisdom and power? I, for one, am very thankful that it is Jehovah who is in charge. I am thankful that God is all powerful so that we can trust that what he has foretold, will come to pass.

147:6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

When the Bible tells of the LORD blessing the meek, it speaks of those who understand their own sinfulness before God. Those who do not trust in their own righteousness, but rather put their trust in the righteousness of Christ.

147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: 147:8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. 147:9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

These verses show us more things about the LORD which are worthy of our thanks and praise; He controls all of nature. He provides for all of his creation, and makes the world a thing of beauty.

147:10-11 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Aren't you thankful that God takes pleasure in those who have placed their faith in him. Aren't you thankful that you are one of them.

147:12-14 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

In the past I have made the case that Zion, as the place where God dwelt in Old Testament times, is now the New Testament Church by way of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers. Certainly we can be thankful that God provides the strength which defends the Church from its enemies, and he blesses the children who are raised in the Church. As his Church he also gives us peace and provision to serve him with.

147:15-18 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

We can be thankful that God is the one who controls all of nature. He sends the snow and the cold and ice. But it is also God who melts the snow and ice, and I know we are all thankful for that.

147:19-20 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

And finally, this psalm ends with one more thing we can be thankful for. God has given us his word. At the time this was written, only Israel had the great blessing of having been given God's word. And it is that word that shows us who the real creator God is. It is in his word that we find his law, which condemns us for our sins. But it is also his word that gives us the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to pay the penalty for those sins. And it is God's word that calls on us to repent of our sins and put our trust in Jesus. That is certainly the number one item we should be thankful for, not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fear and Forgiveness

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Psalm 130:4

On first glance, that seems like an odd statement, doesn't it? But think about it...

Isn't there an old saying about there being no one more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose? The book of Romans tells us that we are all condemned sinners without excuse, and most of mankind, when caught in a moment of truthfulness, will admit to such. But where does that leave them? If there were no forgiveness from God, then they would be without hope and with nothing to loose. No point in fearing that which is inevitable. May as well go out defiantly!

Ah, but there is forgiveness with our LORD. Now there is hope! Now justice is not inevitable. Now there is the possibility of not receiving the wages of sin. And since this is the case, it does rightly lead to a holy fear of him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. As the book of Proverbs tells us, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Was Wrong

Not exactly ground shattering news, huh? As they say: we all make mistakes. I certainly have to plead guilty, ...but sometimes being wrong about something is a little easier to take than others.

On the several occasions I have been asked about doing further porting work on Harley's Screamin' Eagle CNC ported heads, my answer has been "not enough material left to gain much." That was based on the annoying (to me at least) habit of the factory making the "choke" (the necked down area just below the valve seat) too large. The best and brightest porting minds in the world will tell you that in most cases 89 to 90% (choke diameter to valve diameter) is as big as you should go for best flow. They will add that in few rare cases you might go as large as 91% but absolutely no more! Harley seems to be fond of percentages somewhere north of that limit. The Screamin' Eagle 110 heads are a good example with a choke percentage of 91.7%. Their CNC ported MVA (Maximum Valve Area) remain true to form with a 1.950" choke working out to 92% of the 2.120" intake valve.

Recently though, I had a long time customer ask me to see if there was anything to be gained on the CNC MVA heads from his brand new Screamin' Eagle 120R engine. A careful perusal of the S.E. catalog revealed that the next step up from the 120R heads (aka the CNC MVA heads) is their "Pro Hurricane" head sporting a 2.175" intake valve. Hmmm ...that same 1.950 choke with a 2.175 valve would give an percentage of 89.7%. At least that would give me something to work with. On the chance that the overall length of the Hurricane valve would be usable in the MVA head, I ordered a pair. When the valves arrived, I was happy to see that they would work out well.

After some careful measurements and calculations for valve to valve clearance at the cams TDC lifts, the next stop was the Kwikway 044 seat and guide machine. Machining my usual multi angle high performance seat to the correct depth for the larger valve took only a matter of minutes, and then on to the flow bench. I intentionally skipped the one other modification I had planned in order to see what the larger valve by itself would do. The results were encouraging: a 19 CFM increase at .400" lift! However, at .550 and .600" lift it showed a 5 CFM loss compared to the original valve. Not to worry, though, I was pretty confident that it was turbulence that caused the loss in flow, and I would address that with the other change I had planned.

And this time I was right! Coupled with my second modification to the heads the result was a nice increase in flow at all lift points except .100 & .200". Not too shabby for a glorified valve job.

.100"----before 74.8 -----after 71.3 (-3.5)

.200"----before 145.0----after 144.2 (-0.8)

.300"----before 201.7----after 210.8 (+9.1)

.400"----before 251.7----after 270.9 (+19.2)

.500"----before 292.0---after 299.7 (+7.7)

.600"----before 311.1----after 315.5 (+4.4)

.650"----before 314.8----after 323.0 (+8.2)

So what was that second mod, you ask? Sorry, but if I am going to stay in business, I can't give away all my speed secrets. Suffice to say the picture below is an "after" picture, and you'll be hard pressed to see anything except the factory CNC machined surface

Which leads to the next question: is there more to be gained with more work to the rest of the port? Guess I'll have to change my answer to "probably."