Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving - Psalm 100 and the Pilgrims


Thanksgiving - Psalm 100 and the Pilgrims

This week we will celebrate a Holiday called Thanksgiving.  We probably all know a little about its origins with the Pilgrims, but here is a bit more.  The Pilgrims, when they lived in England were called Puritans due to their attempt to live their lives in a pure manner, as free from sin as they were able.  At that time, the Church of England did not allow people to worship except in the state-run churches and so a small group of these Puritans eventually decided to avoid persecution by coming to America so that they would be free to worship God as the Bible taught them.

 The country that they were coming to was a vast wilderness, with almost no other people except for the native Indians.  When they arrived in Massachusetts in December of 1620, the 102 Pilgrims had to quickly build shelters, but hey weren't prepared for how harsh the New England winter would be, and half of them died before spring. Yet, persevering in prayer, and assisted by helpful Indians, they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer.  The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621, to thank God and to celebrate his provision.

Can you imagine that? Less than a year earlier, half of their number had died, but now they were setting aside 3 days for thanksgiving and praise to God. These were Christians, and as such they were undoubtedly well acquainted with the Bible’s calls to thanksgiving.  One of those calls can be found in Psalm 100, which is only four verses long.

Psalm 100 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Here are a few thoughts on this psalm.

Verse 1 says: "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands."  That's what we do when we sing in a Church service.  We make a joyful noise.  And the verse goes on to say "all ye lands."  All people everywhere owe God thanks, because God blesses all of them.  God makes the sun shine and provides rain when it is needed.  That in turn causes the crops to grow that provide the food we all eat.  Everything we have; our clothes, our houses, everything... is ultimately provided by God because of his goodness.

Verse 2 tells us: "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing."  We come before God’s presence when we pray, but also whenever we gather together to worship him. God is pleased when we do his will with a cheerful heart, and also when we sing praises to him.

Verse 3:  "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."  Aren't you glad that the LORD God is God.  If God were just a man like us, he would be susceptible to the same shortcomings as we are.  But since God is perfect in every way, and all powerful, we know that we can trust him and follow him, as a sheep follows the shepherd.  Just as a shepherd guides and protects his flock of sheep, God guides and protects his children. 

Verses 3&4 say:  "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."  Here we are told to praise the Lord and be thankful to him.  Why?  The answer is given right here in the verse: Because the LORD is good, and what is more, God doesn't change!   He always has been good and he always will be.  Aren't you thankful for that?  But most important, this verse tells us that God's mercy is everlasting. 

God showed his mercy to us by sending his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and those promises made concerning salvation through Jesus Christ have not expired.  Mercy is bestowed on every generation including ours and the generations that will follow us. That is something we should be thankful for every day of the year, and it is why the Pilgrims were so thankful to God despite all the hardships they endured.

We should give thanks for all things, but especially for salvation.  God provided salvation so that sinners like you and I can be saved from both the bondage of sin and the penalty for it that a perfect justice demands.

That salvation is found in the sinless life of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for sins, past present and future, on the cross at Calvary.  He suffered and died in our place, then rose again from the dead on the third day, that we might be declared righteous before God and live a life of thanksgiving to him!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Devil Has Come Down


The Devil Has Come Down

As you all know, this summer the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 opinion that claimed there was a right to kill the unborn in the Constitution which resulted in over 63 million babies being killed in the intervening 49 years. Obviously, the reversal was a cause for a joy among Christians and other people of good will, because at LEAST now there would be some states that could outlaw the barbaric practice within their borders. 

But the pushback by the culture of death has been dramatic. Quickly following the Court’s decision scores of pro-life pregnancy support centers were vandalized and even fire-bombed.  Many states that already had laws on their books that would have stopped the killing of unborn children once Rowe was overturned, were halted by a barrage of lawsuits. Right now, Planned Genocide, AKA Planned Parenthood is in the process of setting up mobile Abortion clinics to operate just outside the borders of States that do ban abortions.

In that same spirit, the man who resides in the White House has now ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals to perform abortions, even though that is in direct violation of a Federal law. To add insult to injury, the VA is also performing abortions in states that have otherwise banned the barbaric practice.

The FBI, in what could only be called an act of intimidation, recently arrived, guns aimed, to arrest an abortion clinic protester for an incident that happened a year earlier and had been dismissed as not worthy of prosecution by local officials. The otherwise peaceful defendant had the impudence to defend his young son who was being verbally abused by an adult member of the culture of death - with a push.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the “right” to assisted suicide has been extended to minor children, as long as they are deemed to be mature enough to make such a decision (and remember, the culture of death claims that 6 year-olds are perfectly capable of deciding to have their genitals mutilated).

Recently, California’s Governor signed a bill that, while it could be argued that it technically does not allow for infanticide, results in the same effect. The law (which I took the time to read) uses the word “perinatal” which Merriam Webster defines as “of, relating to, or being the period around childbirth, especially the five months before and one month after birth” (emphasis mine). But while the bill does affirm that murdering a baby during the “perinatal period” remains a crime, it also provides severe penalties for anyone involved in the “threat, intimidation, or coercion” aimed toward one involved in the perinatal death of an infant. However, the bill also spells out that the “criminal investigation, arrest, or prosecution, or threat of investigation, arrest, or prosecution” of that lawbreaker “constitutes threat, intimidation, or coercion.” Get that? If anyone even investigates a perinatal death, they will be subject to a $25,000 fine (the amount specified in the bill). In other words, murdering a baby 27 days after they are born is still technically a crime, but investigating that death will be the only crime with a punishment.

But it gets worse. The Governor of California also announced that he would be having billboards placed in States that ban killing babies with the following text: “Need and abortion, California is ready to help” and under it: “Love your neighbor as yourself, there is no greater commandment than these” Mark 12:31". The last line on the sign reads: “Paid for by Beelzebub for California Governor 2022”.  You might note that I changed the name in that last line, but not to protect the innocent, because the only innocent ones in all of this are the nameless babies being murdered.

As a Christian, I find that blasphemy absolutely reprehensible.  But there is something else going on right now that I find even more troubling. More and more I see political ads with men saying that the candidates from the party of abortion must be elected in order to protect the “right” of their daughters to kill their offspring.  That’s right, men cheering on the slaughter of their own grandchildren!

With all this wickedness and more taking place, one can’t help but ponder this other verse from Holy Scripture:

 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:12

Friday, September 16, 2022

Tolerance Stack Up

 Tempting as it might be to save this title for a commentary on modern day culture, I decided to use it for this piece with a more traditional understanding of the term.  As it pertains to motorcycle mechanics, the term is commonly understood to refer to the manufacturing tolerances of parts that are used together and how those plus/minus tolerances can affect overall clearances and fit.

When dealing with just two parts, it’s a very simple concept to understand.  Say a shaft is designed to have an outer diameter of 1.000” with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- .0005”, and the bushing it rides in is designed to have an inner diameter of 1.002” inner diameter with a manufacturing tolerance of +/- .0005”. That means if the both parts are spot on spec, the combo will have .002” clearance.  If the shaft is at the low end of the tolerance (.9995”) and the bushing is at the high end (1.0025) you will end up with .003” clearance. On the other hand, if the reverse is true (1.0005” on the shaft and 1.0015” on the bushing, then all of sudden you only have .001” clearance. 

Obviously when dealing with multiple items that are part of the same assembly, it can get interesting in a hurry.  Consider the “squish” clearance (distance between the ledge on the cylinder head and the piston deck at TDC) on an Evo or Twin Cam.  Each part that contributes to that distance has its own manufacturing tolerance which affects the final assembled clearance.  Here are some of the measurements that come into play: The distance from the centerline of the crankcase main bearing to the surface where the cylinder mounts, the cylinder length, the gasket thicknesses, the center-to-center length of the connecting rods, the distance from the centerline of the piston pin to the upper surface of the top ring land, and even the centerline distance from the main shafts to the centerline of the crankpin (which also determines the stroke, BTW).  If all those tolerances stack up one way, the squish distance would be smaller than if they stack up the other direction. And that is why those who build performance engines take the time to measure and adjust that final distance to make the squish clearance as efficient as practical.

But what brought this issue to mind and caused me to write this piece, is much more mundane, and in fact a bit humorous.  The other day I was putting the finishing touches on a cone Shovelhead lower end.  I had already installed the new oil pump, checking that it turned smoothly. I had selected the pinon gear which provided just the right amount of lash between it and the cam gear to provide quiet operation (not too loose and not too tight). I had test fit both the cam and breather gear for proper end play before the final installation of the cam cover with Loctite and a torque wrench applied to the screws. Satisfied with my work for one day, I would get back to it in the morning.

But the next morning, when I went to the next step, that of installing the tappet blocks and lifters, much to my surprise, the crank would no longer turn! Where in the world had I messed up?  The cam still had end play so the next thing that came to mind was that perhaps the cam cover gasket had compressed more than expected, taking up the breather gear end play that I thought that I had established.  Off came the cam cover again. Nope, …still locked up.  Now this would have really been a puzzler except that right about then I remembered that I did one the last thing after installing the cam cover the previous evening.  I installed the timing hole plug. 

The brand-new S&S crankcases came with a nice zinc plated timing plug that would easily pass for an oem part. But the customer had a nice new shiny chrome plated Colony brand timing plug, so of course that’s the one I installed.  Sure enough, the chrome plug was just enough longer that it contacted the flywheel and kept it from turning.  But before we condemn Colony, let’s think again about this whole tolerance stack up issue. This particular motor has a set of original Harley flywheels, …you know the kind with the wide and heavy left side wheel. So, the fact is, the Colony timing plug would not have touched thinner S&S flywheels when used in S&S cases, and neither would it have touched stock flywheels in stock crankcases. And of course, the S&S timing plug doesn’t touch the stock flywheels when installed in the S&S case. But the combination of parts from two different sources with their differing tolerances, turned out to be just enough to make them incompatible.



And that brings to mind a similar situation I ran into about 30 years ago, also while building a Shovelhead engine.  The parts list included Delkron Shovelhead cases and a set of the generic aftermarket lifter blocks that nearly all the major parts distributers sold (and still do to this day). One of the lifter blocks, whether front or rear I do not recall, would not physically fit into the crankcase.  In an effort to determine where the fault was, I took a stock lifter block and it dropped right in to the Delkron case.  But then, before counting the aftermarket lifter block out, I tried it in a stock Harley case.  Sure enough it dropped right in.  Try as I might though, there was no way that aftermarket lifter block would go into the aftermarket Delkron case without one or the other having some metal removed!

Maybe those two examples don’t quite fit the technical definition of a tolerance stack up, but they give some idea of the adventures that await those who source their parts from multiple manufacturers in their efforts to keep old Harleys on the road.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

... or Banana Republic?


It would appear that the meme (above) which I created in response to the purloined Presidential race in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty is proving itself valid.  This is exactly what happens when a nation that was founded on Christian principles turns their back on the God who blessed them so richly.  Without God there is no longer any foundation for morality. The morals of the nation are now planted squarely on shifting sand, at the mercy of the hearts of those running the nation via government, media, education, and popular culture.  When those hearts are darkened, the people suffer the consequences.  “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)

Because of this lack of morality caused by the rejection of God, we have no reason to think that “evidence” will not be planted, elections rigged (again), and our Constitution shredded. The FBI has shown itself to have metamorphosized into an agency more akin to the KGB than the entity that was once revered by good men.  The IRS is soon to get reinforcements for its weaponization to be used against any who love God and love freedom.  

 "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." (Psalm 2:1-3)  

By the way, just in case any might be confused, the LORD’s anointed mentioned in that Psalm is Jesus Christ: our only hope for peace and justice in this age or any other

[This was first posted on Face Book but it appears that their filters are keeping it from being viewed by very many -at least compared to how many see anything I might post about other subjects. Odd, isn't it?]