“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the ‘Spirit’, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:7-11).

Bernard Burreson is a senior aerospace electronics engineer who is a consultant to the aerospace industry. Before he went into business for himself he worked for the Eldec Corporation, a Seattle area electronics firm. One morning just as Bernie arrived at work and was walking down the hallway toward his office, he passed by an office cubicle noticed an engineer who was looking very ill.  He had large black bags under his eyes, he had obviously not shaved for several days, and he looked very scruffy and discouraged.  Bernie asked the engineer (who we will call John) if he was feeling okay and John began to blurt out a story concerning the failure one of the company’s products that he himself had designed.

“Oh Bernie,” he said, “We are in big trouble…”  He told Bernie that he had just returned from Australia where he had been consulting with a submarine manufacturer whom we will call “Australian Sub.”  The Australian submarine company had just installed into the submarine a new product that John had designed, but it was not working.  The new product controlled the submarines flood doors, and thus they could not launch the submarine until John’s design was corrected.  It was not a good situation for John or for Eldec Company because Australian Sub was threatening to sue Bernie’s company for $1,000,000 per week for each week that their submarine could not be launched.  John also had another problem: the representative from Australian Sub was scheduled to arrive in Seattle the next day, and John had no solution—he didn’t know what to do.  As they discussed the problem, John asked Bernie to help him.  Bernie agreed to review the design to see if he could identify the problem.  Let’s let Bernie tell the rest of the story in his own words:

I had only spent about an hour looking at the design when John came into my office and asked me to attend a meeting with him which was being called by the vice president of our division.  I agreed to sit in on the meeting.  As the meeting was called to order I was asked what I was doing there.  I replied that John had asked me to help him review the design and also accompany him to the meeting.  Our Vice President who was also in on the meeting said that he thought it was an excellent idea, and told me to spend the rest of the day reviewing the design. At this time in my career, I had been promoted to the highest level of engineering.  I had been doing a lot of research in magnetic sensing and had all the computers, programs and tools I needed to perform this type of engineering work.  I was called the company’s “guru.”

I went back to my office and examined the design for the rest of the day, and I concluded that it was a bad design which would not work; I further concluded that we would likely need to completely redesign the sub’s flood door electronic operating system.  At the end of the day I reported my findings to the company executives, and they asked me to attend a meeting with the representative from Australian Sub early the following morning.

First thing the following day, I attended the meeting with the submarine company representative who was extremely upset, so much so that he would spit as he talked.  His face was extremely red and he spoke quite loudly as he exclaimed with all the force he could muster, “Just get my electronics fixed!”  Our vice president calmly told this man, as he pointed to me, that he had assigned the company’s best engineer to the project, and then he introduced me to the Australian representative.  I thought this was a little strange since I had reported to him only the evening before that our product would need to be completely re-designed.  Then he told me to go back to my office and spend the remainder of the day looking over the design.  He announced that we would meet again at the end of the day to discuss my findings.

At 5:00 P.M. the same day, we met again to review the results of my investigation, but this time it was in my building, and in a conference room that was just around the corner from my laboratory.  Not only was our vice president there, but our company president as well. My immediate supervisor cornered me just before the meeting to get my feed back concerning the product, and again I told him that in my opinion the product needed to be totally re-designed.

As I set down at the conference table, my supervisor sat across from me, and John the original product designer was sitting next to me.  The man from Australian Sub was across from John, and the president and vice president sat at opposite ends of the table from each other.  My supervisor called the meeting to order, and I expected him to tell the group that we needed to re-design our product, but instead he looked at me and said, “Bernie, get up on the whiteboard and show this man how you are going to fix his electronics.”  I could hardly believe what I was hearing, but I got up, went to the whiteboard, took out a marker and started to draw out the electronic schematic of the product.  I had it memorized by now, having worked on it for the past two days.  I was explaining how it worked as I was drawing it, stalling for time; I was trying to think of how I could best relate the bad news.  But as I was pointing to a particular area of the circuit, all of a sudden, out of my mouth came these words: “I am going to put a capacitor right here and the circuit is going to work.”  There was a simultaneous slap of hands on the table as everyone pushed their chairs back from the table and said “great!” They all got up and left, leaving me standing there staring at the evil marker in my hand.  A flood of thoughts was rushing through my head.  Thoughts like, ‘I have just taken full responsibility for this product working…I have just fired myself….what have I done?…how will I put my kids through will my wife take this?’

I must have stood there for two or three minutes staring at the marker, when all of a sudden I realized that what I had just said did not come from my mind; it had come from my spirit and I had spoken it out of my mouth.  It was the same way the Holy Spirit had spoken through me on other occasions.  I thought, ‘I wonder if that was God?’  I rushed out of the room to the lab; all the technicians had left for the day.  There lying on the technicians’ bench was the submarine flood door systems circuitry all set up for testing.  John must have been doing some experiments.  I went over to the parts bins, and picked out a capacitor.  I went back over to the flood door circuitry board, turned on the test equipment, attached it to the submarine flood door circuit board, and then turned on the system.  It definitely did not operate properly.  I then put the capacitor across the point that I had identified in the meeting, and—BOOM—the signals became totally functional.  It worked!

I knew the technicians always came to work early, around 6:00 A.M., so I wrote them a note to get ten test boards modified like the one I had just worked with, and to begin a test program on all ten boards.  The next morning I came to work at 8:00, and there was singing and dancing in the laboratory. Every board was working.  I went back to my office, astounded at the grace of God.

At 10:00 P.M., John, the design engineer, came back into my office with his head hanging down and announced to me that when they put the flood door tests boards into temperature testing, the Build-In-Test-Equipment (BITE) stopped working.  “What do we do now?” John asked.  I told him to give me a minute, and he left office and walked back down the hallway to the laboratory.  I swung the chair away from my desk, bowed my head and said, “Father, that was You that gave me the solution yesterday, so please tell me what is wrong now.”  Instantly God said, “Change R10 to 47K and the circuit will work.”  I had the circuit memorized, but I did not know which resistor was R10, or did I know its value, but I jumped up and yelled down the hall to John, “Change the R10 to 47K and the circuit will work.”  He changed the circuit as God had directed and it worked perfectly.  My asking God, His replying to me, and my yelling down the hall to John all took place in less than twenty seconds. 

The circuits were all modified, and that flood door system is still working in the Australian submarines today.  Later, I went back and reviewed the design again with the 47K resistor in place, but it still does not make sense to me as to why the change improved the products performance so much.  The only thing I know for sure is that when I lacked wisdom and didn’t know what to do, the Holy Spirit gave me wisdom and showed me what to do.  Actually God gave me the answer to my problem without me ever asking Him for help.  He just wanted to show me that he wanted to be involved in my business life.

This story describes the first time that the gifts of the Spirit operated in Bernie’s business life to provide him with supernatural wisdom to solve a difficult engineering problem, but it was not the last.  The Holy Spirit has given Bernie a number of other inventions, including the Non-Contacting Linear Transducer, a device used to measure and synchronize the position of the wing flaps on the Boeing 757 aircraft, and a GFI sensor among others. In some instances the Spirit gave Bernie a word of wisdom; in other instances it came as a dream or vision.   But the important thing is that it came as a gift from the Holy Spirit to help him in the business world.  If God did it for Bernie, He will certainly do it for you.  

It might be an encouragement to you that the very first individual in the Manufacturer’s Handbook to be filled with the Holy Spirit was an architect, a builder…a man by the name of Bezalel, the son of Uri.  He was not filled with the Holy Spirit to do the work of the ministry, but was filled with the spirit to design and build Israel’s first Tabernacle; he was filled with the Spirit in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge to work (Exodus 31:1-3).

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit,… distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians. 12:7-11).

I have said a number of times in this book that faith is the only way you can receive anything from God, except through a manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit.  Faith will work for you any time, but the gifts of the Spirit operate only as the Spirit wills them to work. Therefore it behooves each of us to understand what the gifts of the Spirit are, so that when the Lord manifests them in our lives, we will be prepared to act on them with our faith.

Paul describes nine gifts of the Spirit in the twelfth chapter of first Corinthians.  Three of them are verbal gifts—they tell us something; three of them are revelation gifts—they reveal to us something; and three of them are power gifts—they do something for us.  Below I have listed these nine gifts below under those three categories:

Verbal Gifts 

Revelation Gifts

Power Gifts


Word of Wisdom



Word of Knowledge

Gifts of Healing

Interpretation of Tongues

Discerning of Spirits


Very often several of these gifts may operate together, but in order to better understand them, we will discuss them separately. While all of the gifts of the Spirit are important, I specifically want to discuss the revelation gifts.  These are the gifts that reveal to us supernatural wisdom and knowledge.  But they are not revealed when we want them to be revealed, they are only revealed as the Spirit of God wills them to be revealed. Operating in the gifts of the Spirit also requires faith on our part.  In an earlier part of this chapter, Bernie Burreson received a word of wisdom concerning a solution to a flawed electronic design which was to open and close a submarine flood door.  But even though Bernie received the design solution as a gift of the Spirit, he still had to exercise his faith to accept and act on that solution. You may not have all nine gifts of the Spirit manifest in your life, but you certainly should understand what all nine gifts are and desire them to operate in your life.

Word of Wisdom
Most of us would agree that God is omniscient—He knows everything.  But He only reveals to us a word of wisdom, the part of His wisdom that we need to meet a particular need.  God didn’t reveal all of His entire wisdom concerning the design to Bernie; he only revealed the part Bernie needed. He revealed that if he would put a capacitor in a certain place in the submarine flood door circuit design that the system would work. But later, when the design failed in the heat test, the Holy Spirit (God) gave Bernie another small part of His wisdom: He told him to replace the R-10 resistor with a 47K resistor, and the problem was solved.  When the system failed in the heat test, Bernie could have given up and thought I guess I didn’t hear from God after all. But he exercised his faith and said, “God, you showed me what to do the first time, and you can show me what to do now.”

Word of Knowledge
I believe that you would agree with me that while God also has all knowledge, he doesn’t reveal to us all his knowledge.  He only reveals to us the part of His knowledge we need at the time.  One way to distinguish the difference between the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom is that a word of knowledge is always present tense while a word of wisdom is always future tense.  Often a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom might work together.  In the chapter entitled “Hearing the Holy Spirit in Business,” I relate a story as to how God led my wife and me to buy a office building.  One Sunday afternoon my wife Barbara said to me, “Bob, we need to buy an office building with a penthouse on top.”   The part of her statement about a penthouse on top was a word of knowledge; it was present tense, and it told us that the building we were to buy had a penthouse on top. The part about needing to buy an office building was a word of wisdom; it was future tense.  It confirmed to me that the desire I had in my heart to buy an office building was from God.   

The Discerning of Spirits
This gift gives us insight and understanding into the spirit world. It has to do with both good and bad spirits.  My wife operates in the revelation gifts more than I do, and I operate in the power gifts more than she.  In February of 1994, my wife Barbara saw into the spirit world and saw three huge angels standing behind me while I was praying, she related to me afterwards that it looked like the angels were waiting for orders.  As a result of her discerning of the angels, I received a revelation from the word of God that angels do the word of God as it is spoken or prayed in faith by the saints in the earth, I share this revelation with you in the chapter entitled “Activating the Angels.”  Notice that the Word and the Spirit worked together to reveal this revelation to us.

Gift of Faith
The “gift of Faith” which is described as a gift of the Spirit is actually “special faith” given to us as the Holy Spirit wills for special situations where our own faith is insufficient for the job.  On occasion when I am overseas and praying for people who are extremely ill or injured, I have sensed that gift of special faith.  This gift of special faith allows you to believe things that you could not otherwise believe. 

The Gifts of Healings
Notice that the Manufacturer’s Handbook calls this gift “gifts” (plural) of “healings” (plural).  Some men obtain more results in praying for hearing, others for eyes, but I have had great success in praying for muscular skeletal problems. These are gifts of healings given as the Spirit wills; they are given you to help others.

Gift of Working of Miracles
A miracle is an intervention of God in the ordinary course of nature. In the story related in chapter 16 in which Gunnar Olson (the Swedish industrialist) spoke to thousands of defective plastic bags—bags which had fused into a single sheet of plastic—to open, I believe Gunnar’s faith caused the Holy Spirit to manifest the gift of miracles causing the bags to open. When he spoke the words Listen heaven and earth!  Who is Lord over Alfapac? His name is Jesus!  In the name of Jesus, I command all those plastic molecules to come back into line, the Holy Spirit manifested the gift of miracles and the bags were transformed into useful merchandise.

The Verbal Gifts
The verbal gifts—prophesy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues—can confirm to us directions that the Holy Spirit has spoken previously to our spirits.  As I will relate to you in the next chapter, Christians are to be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14).  They are not to be led by prophesy or tongues and interpretation of tongues.

In my own life, the Spirit often manifests immediately after I wake up—at a time when my mind is quiet, before it begins to think about other things.  At this time of the day, it is much easier for the Spirit of God, who lives within my spirit, to contact my mind.  Such was the case with Bernie Burreson when God gave him the design for the Boeing 757-300 wing flap skew project in a dream. Bernie had just completed the design of another Holy Spirit-inspired device called a “non-contacting linear transducer” which we will refer to as an NCL unit and his company had constructed a demonstration prototype of the NCL design.

Bernie himself tells the amazing story about what came to be referred to as “The God-Ordained Program”:

On a Friday morning we took the demonstration NCL unit to the Boeing Company to present its features to the Boeing engineers.  At the end of the demonstration, four of the Boeing engineers pulled me aside and said, “That was a neat demonstration but we have a very serious problem that needs attention.  We need a new product on the 757-300.  In fact, we need three new products, and we need them all completed in six months.”  The new products were needed to measure the wing flap position on the 757-300 aircraft to ensure that the flaps on both wings are deployed together.  (This is extremely critical, because if the flaps do not deploy together, more lift will occur on one wing than the other and the airplane will roll and crash.)

The Boeing engineers were trying to convince me that I needed to accept this challenge immediately.  All of a sudden I realized that they wanted this product in a mere six months.  I told them that this was an impossible project that it took our company two years to accomplish any new product design. We had never designed a product like this before, and since they really wanted three new products it would take at least two years.   I told them “no thank you,” and we packed up our demonstration NCL unit and left for our office at Eldec.

I arrived back at my office at 11:30AM, and at 2:00 P.M. the president of our company called and asked me to come over to his office.  When I arrived, he told me that Boeing had called concerning three products for the wing flap position design.  He explained that Boeing wanted us to design, manufacture, test, quality check, and deliver the three new products for the 757-300 aircraft in six months. I said, “Sir that is impossible.”  He said, “They are desperate; they need this design on that airplane, and they need to roll out that plane in six months.  They will pay us whatever it cost and more.”  I said, “You are going to make me do this aren’t you?”  He told me that a program manager had already been selected to make a quick estimate of costs by that very afternoon. By the end of the day, everything was in place—I was to begin the project the following Monday.  I couldn’t believe that they were asking me to do this!  It had been agreed that since there were only six months to complete the entire project, we would divide the time three ways:  two months for me to design and test, two months for manufacturing to build the products, and two months for the qualification testing and delivery of the product. This was crazy!

On Sunday night the day before I was to start the project, I began to fret.  My stomach was churning, and I couldn’t go to sleep.  The previous Wednesday, I had read Psalm 37 in my Bible study, and all I could remember from that study was that Psalms 37 said, “Do not fret…”  And I was fretting!  I prayed, “Father, you said not to fret, and I am fretting.  If you don’t want me to fret, then you need to help me.”  Immediately I felt the burden of the program lift, and I went to sleep.

At 2:00 A.M., I awoke with the complete design in my head.  Now I could not go back to sleep as I was too excited. God had given me the design while I was asleep!  I got up, but I was so excited that I could hardly wait until 6:00 o’clock when my technician arrived at the laboratory.  I couldn’t wait to show him the design.  By 10:00 A.M., we had our first crude prototype, and it was working.  I took the results of the prototype into the program manager and said, “Remember, the two months I said I needed?  Well, here is our prototype complete.  We are now two months ahead of schedule.”  He couldn’t believe it.  He asked me how I did it, and I began to witness to him of God’s grace.  From that time on the program manager called the program, “The God- Ordained Program.”

We delivered our first products to Boeing two weeks ahead of schedule, and my company Eldec received many awards because of it.

The Holy Spirit Will Show You His Secrets.
God is no respecter of persons!  What He has done for Bernie Burreson, He will do for you…what He has done for Gunnar Olson, He will do for you…what He has done for me, He will do for you. If you fear the Lord and meditate on His promises day and night like these men do, He will show you His secrets and grant to you the blessings of Abraham—the blessings that He has promised to those who belong to Christ.

“Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant (Psalms 25:12-14).