Friday, February 22, 2019

Righteous Lot

Many of you may recall the Old Testament narrative about Lot, who with his family fled from Sodom and Gomorrah just as those cities were about to be destroyed by God. Recently I read a post by someone intent on proving that Lot was a righteous man.  Well, I cannot argue with that sentiment since it is clearly stated in 2 Peter 2:6-8.

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)  

Okay, so what’s the problem, you might ask.  Well, its just here.  Recalling the events as recorded in Genesis 19, God sent two angels to warn Abraham’s nephew Lot that the city of his abode would shortly be destroyed.  When they, as men in appearance, entered Lot’s house the men of the city came and demanded that Lot turn them over to them:

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. (Genesis 19:5-8)

The problem, of course, is how to reconcile Lot’s action in offering up his daughters to be gang raped in place of his house guests and still be called righteous by the apostle Peter.  Now, I can do it rather easily, (and I will in a moment) as can many Christians who have a firm grasp of scripture, or are willing to take a moment to consider the case.  However, the author of the aforementioned post was forced to read all sorts of missing details into the narrative to square it with his theology, particularly his soteriology. (Soteriology is a 12-dollar word for the doctrine of how one receives salvation)

You see, when your religion teaches that it is your own actual righteousness that saves you, rather than the righteousness of Christ Jesus being counted as yours, then you will have to find a way to excuse or explain away the sin of those who the Bible calls righteous.  But for the true believer, it is quite simple. Lot was called righteous in the inspired word of God for exactly the same reason that his uncle Abraham was called righteous.  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:3)   and again,Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Galatians 3:6)

But of course, once again, if your religion teaches that it is your own righteousness that saves you rather than the imputed righteousness of Christ, then you will also find yourself looking for a “work around” for the rather clear teachings given through the apostle Paul mentioned above.  In fact, you may need to find a way to explain away his entire letter to the Galatians.

However, by God’s providence, just as I started to write this article I came to this Old Testament admonition during my daily Bible reading which further clarifies the matter:  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.  (Ezekiel 33:13)

So, while those of us who put our trust in Christ’s righteousness and not our own self-righteousness can ponder whether Lot’s actions in offering his daughters to the mob was morally reprehensible or acceptable given the circumstances, we don’t have to make him out to be someone more than what we are; sinners saved by grace!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Valve Potential Flow

We all fall prey to it occasionally; working on a project in which we have a preconceived idea of the results, but when you come near the end, they appear disappointing at best.  What did I do wrong? Can I fix it? When is “it will have to do” good enough?  Or, the ever-present option: do I need to start over?

But then sometimes when you find yourself in such a position, you need to take a moment an re-evaluate those expectations you had when you started. 

To make a long story short, I recently ported a set of head castings that I don’t often deal with, using smaller valve sizes than what I would normally select (for reasons I will not go into).  Once ported and flow tested, I was left wondering what I might have done differently.Then I remembered the actual valve sizes involved and it occurred to me that perhaps I expected more flow than I should have given the “smallish” valves.

For years I have had a chart that I produced for my own use, utilizing information from SuperFlow’s instruction manual for common valve sizes which provides “maximum potential flow” for the given valve size.  When I consulted the chart, I realized that I was dealing with a valve that was not on my chart.  The good news, however, was that once I did the math, I found that my work was completely up to snuff. 

But of course, never one to take small victories and move on, I decided that it might be a good time to update my chart.  And when I say update, I mean completely re-vamp it, put it into Excel and make it “interactive” so that with absolutely minimal input, all the data will be calculated for any valve size. So, if you have Microsoft Excel on your computer, you should be able to follow the link and download the “chart” and add valve sizes as needed.  

If you do not have the Excel program on your computer, you should still be able to download the chart though you will not be able to add sizes and will be limited to the valve sizes that I have listed.
This chart enables you to input the valve head diameter along with the stem diameter and everything else will be calculated for you.  Column A is a short description of where the valve is commonly used.  Column B is the valve head diameter and column C is the stem diameter.  Once the figures are entered into columns B & C, the rest of the fields will fill in automatically.  Column D gives the result of subtracting the square of the stem diameter from the square of the head diameter.  For the most part this figure can be ignored (though it is used by the program for further calculations).  Column F is the net valve area (which takes the area displaced by the stem into account).  From there the columns alternate between the potential flow at the given “valve lift to diameter ratio” and then what that valve lift is in inches. 
A quick word about lift to diameter ratio.  Many of those who do porting work find it most convenient to test flow at every .050” or .100” of valve lift, while others do all their testing at lift to diameter ratios. In the Harley industry, the lift to diameter ratio is not used often, though the concept is simple. The ratio is the derived by multiplying the valve diameter by a percentage; commonly 10%, 15%, 20%, etc.  This is expressed as: .10d, .15d, .20d, (you get the picture).  In other words, a 2.0” diameter valve would have a .25d lift of .500”.   The lift to diameter ratio has a couple of advantages, in that it allows one to compare the flow efficiency of two ports using different size valves rather than just the raw CFM of flow (where the larger valve will nearly always show up as the winner). This would be handy in a shop that ports a wide variety of head types. Also important, though often overlooked is the .25d flow.  At .25d (where lift = ¼ of the valve diameter) the “curtain area” of the valve is equal to the valve head area.  At that point, the amount of valve lift is no longer the primary deterrent to flow.  In porting, this has important implications when deciding what portion of the head needs improvement.

Hope this may be of use to some of you …

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Word

Thank you to those of you who took the time to leave feedback on my last post (you know who you are). Though I have some Harley performance related posts in the works, this one is a slight variation on the format (with different content) of my last post.

And for those who prefer to read rather than listen, here is the text of the above multimedia presentation:

For today's text I would like to go to what I believe to be one of the most glorious, and informative, and profound places in the Bible, though there are many texts that fit that description.  This one is found in the Gospel of John chapter one.

John 1: 1-14

This text is just loaded with information about the person of Jesus Christ, and in fact it is one which most plainly teaches us about the deity of Christ.  This book, penned by the apostle John begins with a phrase that points us right back to the first book of the Old Testament. The Gospel of John starts out with, "In the beginning was the Word".  The book of Genesis starts with, "In the beginning God".  And note that by only the third verse of Genesis, the three persons of the Trinity have been revealed.  

Gen 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Clearly when the book of Genesis says "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," it is referring to the Holy Spirit.  Not so obvious without the book of John is that when God spoke those first words of command, "Let there be light," the word which was spoken is somehow eternally linked with the person we call Jesus. It is tempting to say that when God the Father speaks, what comes out of his mouth is Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God.  But that paints a picture that is not quite right either, because the Bible elsewhere informs us that God the Father is a spirit, not a being with physical features like a mouth. 
Perhaps the definition from Strong's Concordance of the Greek which is translated as “the Word” here in John 1 would be helpful.  It suggests that especially when used with the article "the," "the Word" can be understood as "divine expression."  The book of Hebrews seems to support that understanding.  It says this in chapter 1: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;   Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,"

I find this last phrase here in Hebrews intriguing.  It says upholding all things by “the word of his power.”  Not “by the power of his word”, as we might expect it to say, but rather by the word of his power!  I even went so far as to consult several other Bible translations of this phrase from the book of Hebrews and they all agree.  Upholding all things by the word of his power. But if we consider that definition from Strong’s Concordance that I mentioned a moment ago, it becomes a little easier to grasp. So, if we were to paraphrase it, it might go something like this: [Jesus], being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, upholding all things by the divine expression of his power.

Of course, the interrelationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, which we refer to as the Trinity, can sometimes be a bit confusing, but I think it is often the case that we make it more confusing than we need to.  In the simplest form it is that Jehovah God is one being or one thing, but three persons.

As RC Sproul has said, the doctrine of the Trinity as found in the Bible is something we can apprehend, even if we cannot comprehend it. In other words, we may not be able to completely understand it or comprehend it, but we can apprehend it or see it clearly taught in the Bible.

On the other hand, as we contemplate the Triune God of the Bible, we might admit along with the Psalmist, " Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it."

But there is a great deal more to be found in this text at the beginning of the Gospel of John. Toward the end of our text, it says of this Jesus, The Word, "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."   So I would ask you, have you received Christ?  Do you believe on his name? 

You might ask, "how does one receive Christ?"  The text goes on to clarify that those who received him "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  So, it’s not something in your bloodline that you inherited from your parents.  It’s not something by the will of the flesh, such as doing some physical thing, and it’s not even by your own will such as having the willpower to be a good person.  No, it is by the will of God, and in fact the answer as to how we might receive Christ Jesus is right there in the text: “Believe on his name.” 

This believing on his name involves believing what Jesus has revealed of himself in the holy scriptures, but it is more than that.  Some translations use the phrase believing in his name, some like the one I just read use believing on his name, and some literal translations use the phrase believing into his name. All of those translations are attempting to convey the sense that this believing is much more than just your mind accepting the facts about Jesus.  It has to do with trusting him and putting that trust into action. We often call this faith.

The name Jesus itself is also important to our understanding of what we are to believe on.  If you trace the meaning of the name Jesus back to its Old Testament roots you find that it is the same name as Joshua which means Jehovah (or Yahweh) saves.  The fact that God saves, or Jesus saves is what we need to believe on or into. 
Nothing we can do will save us from the guilt of our sins or from the penalty for our sins. We cannot make up for past bad deeds by doing good things.  God does not have a scale with your good deeds on one side and your sins on the other with your eternal destiny dependent on which way the scale tips. 

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah tell us this: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So you see, if there was such a scale, your good deeds would have to go on the same side as your sins, condemning you.  Only the righteousness of Christ can tip the scale in your favor, and that righteousness is counted as yours when you believe on Him!

Only the death of Jesus Christ can pay the penalty for our sins to keep us from condemnation, and only His righteousness can earn us a place in heaven.  But just as important, only His resurrection from the dead can confirm for us that God the Father found his sacrifice to be acceptable.  That is what we need to believe on to receive Jesus