The Fight Is On

We can get so excited about the life that is to come that we might forget to live fully in the life that is here now. Enablements the Lord bundled to include with the new birth are designed to be used here and now. The Lord calls on us to do exploits in our current land of the living because the fight — the Lord’s righteous fight — is on. Our song, “The Fight Is On” is an energetic, century-old hymn that still rings true today. Please give it a sing-along listen, then come back to meet an inspiring lady who became skilled and prolific at a useful hobby.

People can surprise you

I had already spent many hours trying to figure out how my guitar and I could convey this song’s bright, abundant “Stars-And-Stripes-Forever” like energy when I paused to get acquainted with its writer. I expected to meet a character like John Philip Sousa himself. I have to confess, I was a little surprised with who I met instead. Read it for yourself:

“Lelia (Mrs. C.H.) Morris (1862-1929) was born in Pennsville, Morgan County, Ohio. When her family moved to Malta on the Muskingum River [note: still in SE Ohio] she and her sister and mother had a millinery shop in McConnelsville. She and her husband Charles H. Morris were active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and at the camp meetings in Sebring and Mt. Vernon. She wrote hymns as she did her housework. Although she became blind at age 52 she continued to write hymns on a 28-foot long blackboard that her family had built for her. She is said to have written 1000 texts and many tunes.” (From See

Sixty-seven was a little longer than an average lifespan for women in America in the late 1920’s. It appears Mrs. Morris used her time well. Family millinery business, served with her husband in church and camp meetings, and spent her last fifteen years blind, but continued to write hymns on a 28-foot long blackboard. She crafted about a thousand texts and many tunes. I’ve seen several which are as energetic and timely as the hymn we are looking at here. What a wonderful example of a useful, full life energized through the love of the Lord.

Surf’s up

A little while ago our daughter and son-in-law moved from Oklahoma to Jacksonville, Florida. Now they are 20 minutes — not 20 hours — from the Atlantic Ocean, and so it made perfect sense for each to get a surf board. A surf board in Oklahoma would have been weird. A surf board needs an ocean to perform.

This might be a leap, but bear with me. With the new birth, the Lord equipped us with spiritual abilities. Have you ever thought about what kind of world those abilities were designed to serve in? All we need to do is look around us and we see we have been built for such a time as THIS. We are not surf boards in Oklahoma. We were created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and the fields around us are ripe with harvest. The fight is on. Surf’s up!

If God be for us …

Our song mentions “If God be for us …”, part of Romans 8:31, which says “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” This verse holds its own in one of the hottest chapters in the entire Bible. Elsewhere in Scripture we can read about the future, of the life to come and happier days ahead. But these verses in Romans are not about good things we need to wait for. Let’s never allow the hope of things to come to cause us to cool down on the love, faith — and focus — to compete in the contest today. We were built to be more than conquerors in the Lord’s kingdom work during our days here. There are mountains of influence to reclaim, souls to reach, darkness to be dispelled and truth to be proclaimed. In Oklahoma, in Florida and everywhere else, we can “ride the Lord’s waves” — because right here and right now, the fight is ON.

God bless you lots!
-Dale R.

Download this song sheet

LYRICS: The Fight Is On
Text & Tune: Lelia Naylor Morris (1905)

1. The fight is on, the trumpet sound is ringing out,
The cry “To arms!” is heard afar and near;
The Lord of hosts is marching on to victory,
The triumph of the Lord will soon appear.

The fight is on, O Christian soldier,
And face to face in stern array,
With armor gleaming, and colors streaming,
The right and wrong engage today!
The fight is on, but be not weary;
Be strong and in His might hold fast;
If God be for us, His banner o’er us,
We’ll sing the victor’s song at last!

2. The fight is on, arouse, ye soldiers brave and true!
Jehovah leads, so vict’ry is assured;
Go, buckle on the armor God has given you,
And in His strength unto the end endure.

3. The Lord is leading on to certain victory;
The bow of promise spans the eastern sky;
His glorious name in ev’ry land shall honored be;
The morn will break, the dawn of peace is nigh.

Let’s stay in touch

Each time I post a new song and lesson here I send a brief, cheerful note to friends of this song site. The note gives a quick description of the song and lesson along with a link to the new song’s page. It is super-easy for you to get a note from me, too. Just click the green “Song of the Week” button below and you are almost there.

To sweeten the deal, you will also get instant access to the “Music Box” where I put all the free resources and downloads that go along with these song pages. Check it out now! Good stuff. (Side note — I still post announcements on social media, too, even though I have learned it is terribly unreliable at getting the message out and keeping us connected. Email gets that job done where social media fails. We do well to connect this way, and avoid getting throttled by social media.)

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6 Replies to “The Fight Is On”

  1. Julia Witchard

    Good evening Mr Dale, another amazing song and sermon, ……and yes the fight is on, and Satan knows he has only a short time to seek whom he may devour, acting like a roaring lion… but do he really know who OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GOD IS , didn’t he remember what happened when he was kicked out of heaven, OUR FATHER GOD HAS A SET POINT AND TIME , FOR HIS WILL TO BE DONE, WE ALL WAS CREATED FOR HIS GLORY, , We all were born a certain time in this life, to finish the WORK THAT OUR FATHER JESUS LEFT FOR US TO DO , And nobody can do what. HE APPOINTED, For that certain person..and it’s up to us to do our part…so Mr Dale let’s be a Paul and do the work that OUR FATHER JESUS HAS SET FOR US TO DO… What an amazing part of your sermon, when u said …IF OUR FATHER GOD IS FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US, we can be against ourselves if we allow Satan to take over but if we set at the feet of OUR FATHER JESUS, Life will take it’s coarse…we have to. keep being a blessing to whomsoever we meet, …..u and Cathy stay blessed .. much blessings and love..🙏 to u both.. 💕

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Hi Julia, thanks for your note. Imagine if we did not understand this is a fight. What if we just thought everything is random and there is no point in engaging the Lord and His power to help us push back against an actual enemy. Gives us energy to see it Biblically for what it is. Thanks again for writing. God bless you lots — Dale R.

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Thanks, Craige. It IS a fun one to sing and play. I hope a few home fellowships will give the video a sing-along whirl! And, as with any of these songs, I’m always willing to pass along any playing tips if someone wants to learn how to play them on guitar themselves. The videos and sheet music should help, but I know sometimes it is difficult to see everything even on a video. God bless you lots … -D

  2. Alistair Dunsmore

    Great rendition of a great old hymn and excellent guitar playing. I used to play this on piano and sometimes organ at a church I attended but the timing was slightly different, as it was written in 4/4 instead of 2/4.

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Alistair, thanks for your note and kind words.

      I’m delighted to hear you had played this one over the years, and I was fascinated to consider the meter and effect on performance timing.

      Though this was a new hymn to me, it looks like it has made the rounds! says it was first published in 1905, appeared in 120 hymnals, peaking around 1970 when it was in about half the hymnals they include in their survey. That is impressive exposure. I guess the Minnesota Scandinavian and German Lutheran churches I grew up in didn’t sing this one back in the day, and you can only get to so many songs when you just do three or four a week.

      The handful of arrangements I found online were all in 4/4. For my arrangement which I posted over in “The Music Box”, I decided to change it to 2/4. Mine is quite possibly the only version anywhere printed in 2/4.

      Here’s how I came to take that action. I think it might be a bit rare for a duple-meter hymn to be written in 2/4. This song clearly seems to me to be in the style of a march … which is typically in 2/4. I wonder if it got rendered in 4/4 because it was published as a hymn for church, and not published as repertoire for a marching band. When trying to figure out how to make it work on guitar, I asked around and learned that marches are typically notated in 2/4 because it was easier for a band to read it — I guess, while marching. I also learned that in the USA, 120 bpm is considered standard for a march, while in Europe we might find more marches done at 110 bpm. That tip on tempo was a big help. For this song I found 110 felt much better than 120.

      As for the meter and its effect on readability, I wanted to see for myself if 2/4 would indeed make this march easier to read. The change from 4/4 to 2/4 was not too difficult, thanks to the modern, wonderful computer-based music publishing software available these days. (I use “MuseScore” which is not as full-featured as others like Finale and Sibelius, but it IS free, and quite well-enough featured to serve my needs.) In the process I was fascinated to discover problems with rhythm notation in the old 4/4 source score I was learning this song from, and was able to get the many fly-speck size dotted eights to add up to complete measures where they had not, a problem obscured in print occuring at some line breaks.

      And … I DO think it was easier to read this march in 2/4.

      At my level of skill “duple” is “duple” be it 2 or 4. At least that seemed the case for this song which did not seem to ask for any difference in emphasis between beats one and three … so 2/4 it remained.

      Sorry for long note … but I was so energized and delighted you noticed the time signature difference, and so thankful you took time to write to me about it, that I wanted to linger awhile on the subject. My immediate circle of friends does not include very many fellow musicians that would sit still for this kind of shop talk … but they ARE all fine folks. Thanks again for your note!

      God bless you lots —


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