Keep On The Firing Line

A song urging us to “keep on the firing line” might seem out of place at church, especially for the many of us who have grown up in times of peace and have not needed to learn how to suit up for war, let alone march into battle. This is a song for evil days when the war raging in the spirit realm spills over and roils our physical realm. To be able to stand in such a day, Ephesians 6 says we need to suit up. Please give this lively song a sing-along listen and come back to chat about God’s provisions that enable us to STAND.

Prepare our minds for the battle

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

We see people fighting people and wonder why everyone is so animated. These verses tell us clearly: wicked spirits in high places — which we cannot see — work THROUGH people and nature to attack God’s people.

Sometimes the attack is obvious. Sometimes it is so subtle that we miss it because we don’t know the enemy’s agenda. II Corinthians 2 tells us Satan has an advantage over us when we are ignorant of his devices. Let’s do our homework and NOT be ignorant! We need to prepare our minds for the battle.

Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

When I was a kid, the radio played a number one hit song by Johnny Horton called “The Battle of New Orleans”. It begins,

♫♪ In 1814 we took a little trip 
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans ♫♪

It’s a fun, rollicking song which makes that battle sound almost like a comedy. That was was pretty much all I knew about that “skirmish”. I had no idea how desperate the fighting was, how huge the stakes were for the United States and how miraculous the victory. I have recently been brought up to speed. (If you want to read a couple of page-turners, I highly recommend Kilmeade’s “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” and Medved’s “The American Miracle”. I wish I had read these in grade school!)

The connection with our “firing line” song — Jackson was up against a much larger, stronger and better-trained enemy. Only hours before the battle Jackson’s men were able to build a crude mud wall and organize a dense firing line. Their rifles could fire once, then needed to be reloaded. Groups of three or four men shared each of the many narrow shooting spots in the line. They took turns firing, stepping down, reloading, repeating. The barrage Jackson’s firing line dished out overwhelmed the powerful British soldiers who, with rifles and gleaming bayonets, were charging Jackson’s line. The victory was stunning. It is a success story of preparation, teamwork, determination and — as those authors I mentioned explain — remarkable miracles from heaven. It was a God-aided victory. That incident combines with our song “Keep On The Firing Line” to paint a powerful picture.

I came not to send peace

We love to read Bible truths about the love, joy and peace we experience as beloved children of the Most High. Yet we recognize the enemy is at war, and continues to steal, kill and destroy.

Jesus understood that. In Matthew 10 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” The fight is on. God gave us “the whole armor” described in Ephesians 6 so that we may be able to withstand and STAND in such a time as this. Our song adds energy to our conviction to “fight, be brave against all evil” and do our part to “win for God and the right”. Let’s sing it together as — together — we keep on the firing line!

God bless you lots!
— Dale R.

Download this songsheet

Keep On The Firing Line
Words and Music: Bessie F. Simmins Hatcher (1915)

Oh you must fight, be brave against all evil
Never run nor even lag behind.
If you would win for God and the right
Just keep on the firing line.

1. If you’re in the battle for the Lord and right
Keep on the firing line.
If you’d win my brother surely you must fight
Keep on the firing line.
There are many dangers that we all must face
If you die a-fighting it is no disgrace.
A coward in the service he will find no place,
So, keep on the firing line.

Oh Brother, keep on the firing line
Keep on the firing line.
We must not retreat,
Jesus leads us forth;
Brother, keep on the firing line.

2. God will only use the soldier He can trust,
Keep on the firing line.
If you’ll wear a crown, then bear the cross you must
Keep on the firing line.
Life is but to labor for the Master dear,
Help to banish evil and to spread good cheer.
Great you’ll be rewarded for your service here,
Just keep on the firing line. (Chorus)

3. When we get to heaven, Brother, we’ll be glad
Keep on the firing line.
We will praise the Savior for the call we’ve had
Keep on the firing line.
When we see the souls that we have helped to win,
Leading them to Jesus from the paths of sin,
With a shout of welcome we will all march in,
So, keep on the firing line. (Chorus)

Oh you must fight, be brave against all evil.
Never run nor even lag behind.
If you would win for God and the right
Just keep on the firing line.

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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First posted December 5, 2020. New song video and article updated March 9, 2024.

14 Replies to “Keep On The Firing Line”

  1. Julia Witchard

    Good early morning Mr Dale, Thanks again for all your joyful songs, and sermons keeping us in touch with Reality , and yes Mr Dale we must fight this battle, but like u said we must put on the “WHOLE ARMOUR OF OUR FATHER JESUS And sit at HIS FEET STEPS AND LEARN OF HIM, because that is all we need to do,, because. THE BATTLE IS HIS, AND HE HAS ALREADY MADE A WAY “”HE SAID IT IS FINISHED “…”LEARN OF ME, “. “PRAYERS CONQUER ALL “, “THAT IS OUR ARMOR,” Thanks again Mr Dale to u and Cathy … blessings and love 💕 goes out to u both..

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Julia, you make such good points! I appreciate the way you say it “we must put on the whole armor …”. Sometimes I hear people say something like “we are protected because we HAVE the armor of God”. That’s a little like “I bought vitamins and an exercise bicycle for my health.” But buying is not the same as using. We need to PUT ON the armor, to actually live right & honest, stop condemning ourselves, read & learn & share the Bible, pay attention to what we believe, remember Jesus is coming back and minister with our God-given abilities while speaking His truth with love. Lots to “put on”, and not just leave hanging in the closet. Thanks for your note, for sharing and for your blessings! God bless you lots — Dale R.

  2. Clarissa Neumer

    Dear Dale:

    What a rousing call to stand! The Lord is directing us to stay vigilant and engaged. Even though many of us are in retirement mode, we have a greater obligation in our mature state to pray in the spirit with focus and deliberation. I asked how to pray regarding the political arena, and I was progressively given this answer. “Pray for the people in the buildings where powerful decisions are made.” Therefore, twice a day (also directed by the Lord) I pray for the Pentagon, the Capital Building, the Supreme Court, the Ronald Reagan Building, the Herbert Hoover Building (which covers three city blocks) and the White House. I don’t have to like or even know who works in those buildings, but I can pray in the spirit for God and the Lord to do whatever it is they do on our behalf. Matthew 28:18, Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “ALL POWER (exousia) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Never underestimate the impact speaking in tongues has on the evil spirit realm! Thanks, Dale

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Hi Clarissa, Thanks for your note. So true, there is never “nothing” we can do. I think we might be surprised how much got done by you and many others doing exactly what you are doing. Lead on! God bless you lots — Dale R.

  3. Michael T Johnson

    Good evening Dale,
    I revisited “Keep on the Firing Line” just a few minutes ago. Superb to hear a 2nd time, 2 days in a row. Kinda puts some energy in my soul to stay strong in the Lord and NOT all the other options. Wide is the gate BUT narrow is the way. God the Father & our Lord Jesus Christ are with us in it all. There is not a better option with eyes seeing and ears hearing, then doing.
    Thanks for doing it again.

  4. Sal Arico

    What a great song for our time, all times for that matter! Paul said to “continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. Our prayers and especially our praises are weapons in this warfare and contest, and God exhorts us to stay “awake” in the battle. Thanks Dale for this great song of encouragement! You are doing a great job of teaching us all to sing, Sing, SING!!!

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Sal, thanks much! Two great joys, 1) being “in this” together with other saints like you and 2) being able to watch God do “Red Sea -class” miracles. As I sit here, I think one or more is coming soon! God bless you lots! -D

  5. Daniel W

    Yes and Amen….thanks Dale for sending this great song.
    It is much needed in this hour.
    Hope to hear Johnny Horton and the Battle of New Orleans next…?
    I had forgotten about that song. And you are right, I suppose that he made it sound like
    a testosterone filled late night adventure (did they even have testosterone back then?)
    I remember standing in that field in New Orleans at 4 in the morning with you and Jon.
    It was pretty surreal.
    Blessings to you !!!

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Dan, thanks for your comments. I can’t out-Horton Horton, but I do hope to find some more of these Christian fight songs. Tis the season!! God bless you lots! -D ???

  6. Cathy Reichel

    What a spirited, fun, inspiring song to rally our troops for the Lord! – Performed with energy and heart. Thanks Dale – can’t wait to hear what you choose next:)

  7. Frank manasseri

    Keep on the Firing Line is appropriate for the times in which we live today.

    The spiritual battle has spilled over into the flesh. This insurrection against a free society is fueled by the hatred promoted by evildoers and haters of God.

    We as God’s people are instructed to clothe ourselves With the whole armor of God.

    As we put on this armor of God we are instructed not to fighy but yo stand in victory!

    We stand in victory of out powerful Lord Jesus Christ.

    “And having done all stand!”

    We must remember that inebof the pieces of the armor we put on is prayer.

    Let us line up on the firing line cheering ine another on to be fully equipped for victory.


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